Saturday, November 17, 2012

Last night

I've never heard fire alarms go off as loudly as they did last night. Usually, for the first few minutes you try to ignore it. Perhaps somebody was cooking something, burnt a toast just a little too much and the smoke detectors picked it up. It happened to me before, one time they were even beeping for no apparent reason for over an hour, until the maintenance staff came in to replace the batteries. But this was different. The sirens outside throughout my building started to make a screeching sound. The emergency lights were blinking and firefighters arrived on the scene. I looked through the door watching them go back and forth carrying equipment for a bit before I decided to go out. It was way after 2 am. No chance of getting any sleep or even enjoying the TV shows my DVR had recorded, because of how loud it was there. Oddly, very little commotion outside, as if most of our residents decided to sleep through it. Few decided to bring their dogs out and other critters in cages, but the animals were scared and hardly anything would calm them down. My apartment complex is a big square with 2- stories of apartments on each side and a grass area in the middle. The fire was on the second floor, three doors to the right and up from me, and from the grilled smell you could tell  it was a real thing.  Even more oddly this the most interaction I've had with my neighbors, some of them I've never even met. People were standing outside talking, trying to guess what happened and who lived in that unit. Some shared other stories about living in their apartments. We chatted for a bit, one neighbor decided to delight himself with a glass of wine, but as many of us went back in drama for more people started. As the fire started, the sprinklers went off, flooding not only the apartment were the fire started but also the ones bellow. Electronics, personal items, furniture, clothes all ruined. Apparently the water was pouring through the ceilings. And it got me to think about how people spend years accumulating things that they get attached to. I've moved around Gainesville way too much to ever make it a home here. Other than a closet full of clothes, suits and shirts that I need for my profession,there isn't really anything that I value or couldn't really replace. I've never properly furnished the place, two years into my lease the walls remain unpainted. I'm not sure  what it says about me, if it's a good thing or a bad thing. It's not that I would mind having a cozy little pad but it never happened.  I could say it's the money. Or the energy. Or the work. Or the creativity needed. Perhaps it's because it doesn't seem like home?  And I saw other people rushing into the apartments to gather whatever pieces of their lives they can collect. In some ways, it was heartbreaking to watch. Some people were pleading with their firefighters to let them back in, gather some essentials. Soon, a representative of the Land lord- Collier Companies/ Paradigm showed up, I guess to  help the affected residents, move them somewhere and assess the damage. Soon all got quiet. It was a long, cold Friday night

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