Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Failure of the Day: Proximity to Disaster

On Friday, I was feeling cooped up after having waited all day for the damn UPS guy who never came but I was also full of malaise and ennui and was generally being crabby, so Chris piled me into the car, drove me to the little shopping center on Masonic and Geary, and left me alone to look at shoes while he poked around in Toys R Us. Then we went to Subway for dinner. When we got back barely an hour later, our entire block was barricaded because the top floor of the apartment building 2 doors down had burnt down.

When you are approaching your home and see instead 3 hook and ladder fire trucks and a red cross ambulance, it scares the shit out of you. It is just this kind of unique perspective that makes this blog such a pleasure to read, I know. Fire = scary! Count on me for a fresh take on things.

The fire was already out by the time we got home, and no one was hurt. I spent a fair amount of time standing on the sidewalk (along with my closest hundred or so neighbors) watching the firefighters work. This is the closest I’ve ever been to a structure fire and I was completely mesmerized by the process. I had no idea that the fire department stays so long in the burned out building. I understand that they were ensuring that there were no hot spots or flare-ups and such, but it was pretty incredible watching them bust out blackened window frames with axes and then shove scorched sofas and TVs out the hole and onto the sidewalk.

The whole block still smells awful and is a muddy, sooty mess. The piles of charred debris on the sidewalk are huge. But the burn marks on the house one door down from my building where the fire tried to jump but was stopped in time are still plainly visible. Man-o-man, do I ever love the fire department.


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