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.
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.