Bastille Days – a four day party expanding 4 city blocks with 4 stages of live music 12 hours a day, food, drink, street performers and roaming minstrels, plenty of tents of wares to sell, and assorted activities in several venues every hour. There was no way of escaping it: it is right out my front door.
Into the third day, after attending the Pooch Parade then sidewalk lunch with drink – then again with visitors with sidewalk dinner and drink, at 7:30 pm I looked forward to closing the windows and blinds, turning up the A/C for comfort and to drown out the noise, to catch up on my reading and mindless entertaining of DVR’d shows. While there was little way of escaping it, the revelry below brought me to the windows to periodically check on the activity and the beautiful summer night with a full moon.
Then it happened: at midnight, drowsily horizontal toying with the idea of transferring from sofa to bed, the building’s fire alarm sounded. Damn…we’d had two false alarms in the last 7 months…is this for real or another false alarm? Looking out for billowing smoke and activity below, I waited a few minutes to see if the alarm would turn off. Then came the sirens and two fire engines…okay time to take action. I threw on a light coat, grabbed my wallet, phone and charger (do I grab baby pictures?) and a bottled water and made my way down 15 flights of stairs to join the displaced tenants and overflow of the now inebriated crowd from the festival.
The uniformed firefighters were in action…scurrying about…some with axes and radios…doing what they do. People of all ages, glued to their phones or continuing with their party plans now on the sidewalk, playing with the resident dogs, conversing or just keeping to themselves. After 10 minutes of milling through the crowd, checking above for any flames of fire or smoke, I was curious as to what people would grab to escape a potential fire that could consume their personal belongings? Pets-check. Phones-check. A beverage-check. One group of young people had 10 bags from what must have been a shopping outing that day. But it was evident…most expected another false alarm. Most took the opportunity for casual visiting. Most, although neighbors, I had never seen before.
A 70’s old woman, fully PJ and robed up to the neck, was berating one of the apartment staff. “The firemen need to find out who tripped the alarm. Why does this happen? We had this a few months ago” and on and on. I’m sure management will hear from her tomorrow.
After we were cleared for re-entry, most took to the lobby for a long wait for elevator delivery to their floor. Many of us decided the trek up the stairs would be the expedient way, even an obviously pregnant young lady. I tagged along with them to be sure she took it slow and a little rest between flights. “Go put your feet up,” I instructed as they exited on the 8th floor. A mom is always a mom.
So thankfully it was a false alarm and no one was hurt and no damage. Thankfully it was a beautiful night to be outside. Thankfully most were in good moods and would continue to party after returning to their personal spaces.
As for me, after climbing 15 flights of stairs, going back to the sofa was out of the question. It was time for bed.