In which I do everything wrong

As I’m finishing my lunch, I hear a sequence of beeps that sound like a fire alarm go off somewhere in my apartment complex. This is not unusual, so I wait a minute or two for someone to take care of it. (Technically, Wrong Thing #1.)

I stick my head out of my apartment. Amongst the beeps I hear the automated voice saying “Fire”, which is how our fire alarms behave. I go back into my apartment. (Wrong Thing #2.)

I called 911. (A Right Thing.) They tell me to leave the apartment as they contact the fire department.

I don’t leave the apartment (Wrong Thing #3.) I get dressed (Wrong Thing #4), then spend time getting the cats into their carriers (Wrong Thing #5).

Wrong Things #3-5 have a simple explanation: I was not going to leave my cats behind. If I perished in the fire, so be it, but I was not going to live my life knowing that I left behind those that I loved.

Getting dressed was part of that. If I were not allowed to return to my apartment for some unspecified time, I’d have to drive to a pet store to pick up supplies, rent a hotel room, and so on. I’d need my car keys, wallet, and such.

What people who know my cats will find amazing is that I got them into the carriers within five minutes or so. I won’t claim they were happy about it, but they put up far less fuss than for a vet visit.

Finally, dressed and jacketed and bearing two cat carriers, I left the apartment. The fire department was outside.

The fire alarm that had gone off was at the top of the stairwell outside any apartment. In the judgement of the fire department, it had been defective and went off for no reason. They inspected the building with their own smoke and CO2 detectors and found nothing.

Standing with me outside were a couple of my neighbors. They were in their PJs; they’d done the Right Thing. They came out after I did, but I hesitate to criticize someone else; they may have realized that fire was unlikely since it had only been the one alarm that had gone off.

Jiku and Shuba handled the situation relatively well. One of neighbors met them for the first time, but they were in no mood to react to strangers.

Overall, I’m content with my stupidity. I know that a ten-minute delay on my part in response to an alarm was foolish. But I’m a fool who’ll die for love.

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