Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shouting "Fire" in a Crowded Theater

I put out a fire today. A real fire. Not the kind of fires that I get at work which are really just someone who thinks their project is more important than other people's. An honest to goodness fire. And it felt good.

I went to the theater tonight to listen to Anne Lamott read. I was 25 when Anne's book "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life" came into my life. Like "Writing Down the Bones", this book inspired me. It challenged me. It made me want to write. Those are my two favorite writing books. They are the ones I give to anyone who even mentions that they're thinking of writing. I love them. So Anne was in town to talk about her new book and I headed over to Hoyt Sherman Place to see it.

I was meeting some friends who were nicely waiting outside for me. I had just walked up and we were standing around talking when I saw the flames. My instant reaction was (and I quote), "Ah, eh, guys." And I pointed. But before the words were even out of my mouth I was walking over. I debated for about 2 seconds, then I pulled my pant leg up and started stomping. It took quite a few stomps to bring the flames down. I kicked and stomped and hoped that my socks weren't catching fire. After it was mostly out, one of my friends dumped the rest of their ice on it to put it out completely.

So it wasn't a huge fire. Pretty small actually by the time we got to it. Someone had dropped a mostly lit cigarette onto some very dry plants. Of course this also happened to be at one of the prettiest buildings in the city. I worried for a while about the kind of damage it could have done if we hadn't noticed it. And I have to admit that I was pretty proud of the way I reacted. I didn't do much debating. I didn't go all hysterical. I just calmly stomped the fire out. Today I am a firefighter.

Oh and Anne was funny and wise and wonderful. Just like I knew she would be.

3 comments:

JMims said...

Major MAJOR props for being responsible! Good on you, and more importantly way to think quickly and take care of the small problem before it becomes a HUGE problem.

And because, well its who I am, I can't resist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFTLKWw542g

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Cat B said...

JMims,
Thanks for the kind words. I'm just glad that it went out so easily and that I didn't start my pants on fire.

Thanks for the video! I'm glad you couldn't resist. It made me smile.