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Monday, December 12, 2011

Mock Me Monday - Paranoia

Two weeks after future hubs and I moved in together, our neighbors had a party.  They made so much noise, we seriously considered calling the cops at 3 a.m.  We didn't want to start a feud, so we rolled over and went back to sleep.  A few hours later, we jumped off our balcony because one of these same neighbors passed out while smoking and started a raging inferno.  He died.

So all that is sad but not mockable, right?

Bear with me.

If you've ever experienced a fire first hand, you know it changes you in unexpected ways.  For me, it made me hyper vigilant about fire safety.  Fireplaces were not romantic objects anymore, they were a source of anxiety and paranoia.

So one night a couple months after the fire, I sat in our new apartment (alone) watching Backdraft.  

Big mistake. Huge.  (did anyone else have a Julia Roberts flashback from Pretty Woman just now?)

I don't watch scary movies when I'm alone because I know they freak me out.  Why I thought I could watch a movie about fires is beyond me.  It didn't take long before my imagination got the better of me.  I smelled something.  I ran through the apartment sniffing things. Outlets, light switches, the toaster and every other appliance we owned.  Anything that could pose a the remotest fire hazard.


I'd sit back down and a few minutes later I'd catch another whiff of *something* and I'd go tearing through the apartment sniffing like a purebred bloodhound all over again. 

Still nothing.

Was I losing my mind?

During the few minutes after we discovered the fire, chaos reigned.  It's crazy the fire safety rules you remember (and forget) from all those lectures as a kid. I know you're supposed to feel doors and handles to see if they're hot before opening them, but during the hubub, I yanked open the apartment door hoping to run down the stairs, but was met with a wall of flames.  Stupid, stupid, stupid. 

It was this memory of the fire burning just outside the apartment door that eventually prodded me into peeking out into the entryway to make sure there wasn't anything out there.

But there WAS something out there!  A little hibachi grill and sizzling steak sat on the concrete pad between our doors.

I wish I could say it was an isolated incident -- a one time behavioral blip. The truth is I regularly run around smelling outlets, lamps, and any other potential fire hazard. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Christmas tree to sniff.


Kim said...

You're right, nothing like a house fire to make you fire crazy/paranoid. Just last week I was sniffing around because I smelled something (smelled like burning electrical wires) - didn't find a thing.

Our fire happened almost 30 years ago - I'm still paranoid.

salarsenッ said...

Yeah, that sort of incident always gives me future crazy brain thoughts. I rarely watch a scary movie while home alone. The few times I have, I find everything in the house morphs a voice and seems to move.

DL Hammons said...

One of my biggest fears...not having a sense of not being able to smell smoke related to a fire. Needless to say I change the batteries in our smoke detectors constantly! :)

Creepy Query Girl said...

lol- yes, fires are really dangerous. You remind me of myself after I saw the sixth sense. I couldn't even drive home alone. I was afraid a dead person would pop up in front of my car. I still can't go to sleep alone without a nightlight, I try not to look in my rearview while driving down winding roads at night and I leave the shower curtain almost completely open if I'm showering in an empty house. Call me crazy.

GigglesandGuns said...

I was with you in a serious way until your last line ... the picture was too much.

Now excuse me because snorted cffee is gross.:0/

Ciara said...

That's terrible. I'm so sorry you went through something so traumatic. I never liked living in apartments because everything your neighbors did or didn't do directly affected you.

Janet Johnson said...

Wow, that is sad about the guy.

And you know, some behavioral glitches might just be okay. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

That must've been so scary. Backdraft freaked me out, and I've never experienced a fire, so I can only imagine how it was for you.

I'm also paranoid about leaving things on - the stove, the flat iron. I often check before leaving the house - sometimes twice. I think it stems from my mother having an accident when I was a teen. I'm always waiting for something bad to happen.

I don't blame you for being vigilant.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I am paranoid about fires as well. When we leave for a vacation, even overnight, I unplug everything in the house, just in case.

Lydia Kang said...

I don't blame you for being paranoid at all!

And btw, I did have a Pretty Woman flashback. ("I have to go shopping now!")

Nicole MacDonald said...

*lol* ahh I've been there too :) I used to be a leader on holiday programmes when I was 15 and one progamme was held in the rooms underneath a 100+ yrold grandstands. It was summer and scorching. All gng well till a kid walks in (very calmly might I add) and says 'there's smoke coming out the roof'
We go have a look and sure enough, not only is there smoke but the top of the grandstand roof is glowing an ominous red and you can see the crisscross of the wood in the roof. We calmly (felt like a really full on outer body experience) gathered the kiddies up and made our way to the entrance of the park. By the time we turned back to look (all of 5min) the building was fully ablaze. Was the freakiest day I'd had in quite a while!

Jolene Perry said...

Equal parts hysterical and crazy.
As always =D

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That is scary. We used to live in a townhouse and the guy next door would toss his still burning cigarettes on the dying grass. I complained to the landlord but didn't get far. She was a smoker too. The scary part was we had a baby at the time who was on oxygen because he was premature. We were positive the guy's carelessness would result in an explosion and our deaths.

Fortunately we did eventually move away. Only the neighbor next to our house almost did burn down his house with an improperly disposed of cigarette. Fortunately the damage to his house wasn't too bad, and our house escaped damage.

Yep, I hate smokers. :P

mshatch said...

How awful! I had one small nothing-got-hurt-except-an-appliance fire and that was enough for me. Fire is scary.

Val Thevictorian said...

BACKDRAFT two months later? What were you thinking? I saw a headless apparition in my basement a few years ago, and I STILL can't watch Ghost Hunters at night.

LTM said...

eye, yi yi! That would freak anybody out, V! But now I'm imagining you as Uncle Rico sniffing everything... *snort* :D

Here's wishing you an unscented Christmas. <3

Jules said...

Sorry I missed this one! My dad was a fireman, no such thing as too much fire safety to me but my brother is a pyro. :)

I also need to apologize for missing your blogfest, I was knee deep with my granny.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow