Terrification

Multiple bad things happened during the last 24 hours, some while I was sleeping and some not. I hate when I wake up after a disaster of some sort. I am not going to address the gun violence that occurred in DC or the UPS shooting in SF. To me, all of these issues boil down to one big ball of rattlesnakes. I’ll sort those out (or stomp on their heads) some other day. I may be wrong but I am thinking that the phrase “going postal” originated from a shooting at the Royal Oak, Michigan post office. It was a disgruntled former employee and he killed multiple people. Fortunately, my mother-in-law was not among them. She had retired from her job at the Royal Oak post office by then.

But Jeebus H. Mackinaw Kee-reist! That fire in London! I’m pausing here for a moment of silence.

I have always been terrified of fire. I *think* my fear originates from the time I was a very small child and we were living in our shabby little bungalow on Superior Street in Sault Ste. Siberia. I think my mother was using an electric frying pan and somehow its cloth cord caught fire. It was big flames, at least to me, like six or eight or 10 inches. The Commander put it out immediately and all was well, not to mention, if there had been a *real* fire, we could probably have run out the back door. But I don’t think I ever forgot it (and we’ll talk about my ridiculous fear of lighting matches some other day).

And then I was in kindergarten and the teacher said there would be a fire grill. Oh, good, I thought. It sounds like we are going to grill hamburgers! Alas, not. The fire “grill” turned out to be an awful buzzing sound. Drill, duh! Our kindergarten room was on the first floor of the school and exited directly onto the school yard, so it is likely that we could escape any fire in the school just by walking outside, unless a bomb landed on our room and that was [arguably] not likely to happen back in 1960 in Sault Ste. Siberia.

A few years later (I think I was in the 4th grade), we watched a movie in the gym about fire safety. Except this particular movie scared the bejeebus out of me. It was set in a crappy old building and kids in one of the classrooms saw smoke coming over the transom. A boy ran out of the room to find his sister and the teacher ran out after him. At the end of the movie, we were looking at the school from outside and there were big flames in some of the windows and they hauled out the boy and his teacher unconscious without telling us whether or not they lived. Everyone else followed the “rules” and survived. I was terrified. Every night when I went to bed (in my first floor bedroom) I would look over and over again under the card table that was set up near my bed at that time, hoping there weren’t flames under it.

So I have always been terrified of fire. I was terrified when I lived on a third floor college dorm room (and there was a fire in that complex once but it was in a disjointed wing and we didn’t have to evacuate). I am a little squeamish when I stay on the higher floors of hotels nowadays although I rationalize that, statistically, it’s unlikely a devastating fire will happen while we are there for 12 hours.

That London incident was the stuff of my nightmares. A whole building going up in flames in a very short time. People dying in their flats. People jumping out windows. A mother dropping a baby out a window hoping that someone below would catch it, knowing that she herself would not survive either the fire or the jump but calculating that the baby might. I am so glad I have never had to make a decision like that.

Sorry about the downer post. I am sitting here in the Landfill back yard behind my single story house. The one that has fully functioning smoke alarms, even though they sometimes annoy us by activating when it RAINS!

Good night, KW

One Response to “Terrification”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I am not terrified of fire, but the idea of being trapped anywhere is stomach churning. I have seen in movies (and been very scared of) being trapped in my car underwater.

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