This happened a few weeks ago, but I didn’t get around to posting this right away. Without further deferment:
I like to think that I am a responsible citizen. I don’t litter, I clean up after my dog, I try to turn down my music when I’m driving home with the windows down and it’s late. And when I’m not sure if a situation is okay, I call for help. I’ve called 911 when I realized traffic lights were out and people were just going for it – that was a dangerous situation. I’ve called the water department when the fire hydrant at the top of my street was just gushing water. I’ve called the cops when I saw a couple fighting and the guy shoved the girl. I’d rather waste their time then not do something and have a bad thing happen. See something, say something, right?
So yesterday, when I was out walking Ranger after work and we walked past a pile of coals, I paused. On the one hand, the coals were on the grass area between the sidewalk and the street, so no one’s home was in immediate danger. On the other hand, the coals were still red hot in the center and it was windy out. The grass all around the coals was charred. What would you do? I called Husband for backup and he said that it was probably fine but I could call the fire department if I really wanted to. So I asked him to send me their number. The thing is, there is no obvious number for the fire department. There is the safety office, the security desk, the fire code unit, and the fire marshals office. So many choices, but who should I call? I decided to start with the safety office and the guy I spoke to said that I could go into the neighboring houses and get a big bucket of ice water and just dump that on the coals, or I could call the fire department. Now, I know some of my neighbors, but not most of them, and definitely not the ones that were right next to the pile of burning coals. So I opted to call the fire marshal’s number next and explained the situation. He was very nice and said he would send some guys over. I asked if I should stick around and he said that would be very helpful because I could point out the exact location.
Being an upstanding citizen, I listened and stayed put. After I hung up, I looked down and realized that I did the same thing I always do when I get home. I changed out of my work clothes, took off my bra, and put on sweats and a t-shirt before taking the pup out for his walk. So now I was waiting for a truck full of firefighters with no bra on. Oh well…
The guys showed up on their truck, I waved them down, pointed out the coals, and with my arms arms strategically across my chest asked if I really needed to call them. They exchanged this look like, is this chick serious? And as the one firefighter terminated all danger by shuffling across the pile in his fire boots, he said it was okay but no, I probably didn’t need to call them. The whole thing was a bit anticlimactic to be honest.
I thought it was one of those situations where I might have saved my whole neighborhood from bursting into flame. Or I was overreacting to the danger potential and would end up wasting the firefighter’s time. But better safe than sorry, right? Maybe next time I will try to handle the situation myself. Or I’ll just take the time to put on a bra before interacting with a bunch of strangers. One or the other.