I went off to my knit group tonight, not at all expecting more excitement than usual. But it was not to be as soothing an experience as it usually is. The apartments across the street from our little cafe caught fire about ten minutes before I got there -- meaning that by the time I arrived, it was a conflagration. And in the next five minutes, I watched huge, brilliantly orange flames shoot skyward as they ate the front and roof off the unit and then jumped the parking lot and started chewing on a second unit. I don't think I've ever seen anything half so horrifying in person. The speed with which the flames moved across the roof, the color, everything about the sight was designed to trigger my central nervous system to put distance between me and It. I admit, I stood by my car for a moment and watched before the way the front of the building began disintegrating in the orange glow disturbed me into backing off, but my retreat was a fairly speedy one. I did not muck about outdoors but headed into the cafe as soon as I noticed the wood of the balcony turning a mottled black.
Strikingly, there were plenty of people who didn't find the sight as frightening as I did and actually stopped their cars on the street to rubber-neck (in the middle of the street, I might add, like, where the moving traffic goes), crossed the street on foot to get a better view, and several people stood along the side of the street taking pictures. One woman with two small girls stood close to the street taking pictures with her cell phone and all I could think was Way to set an example, lady -- someone could be dying in there!
Am I the only person who thinks taking pictures of someone else's misfortune and possible death is vulgar? Maybe. Whatever else it is, it was a major time-suck, as it took at least ten minutes to put the big flames out, longer to get rid of the little smoldery flames and then even longer still to knock out walls and take down the rest of the roof and clean up and write reports and such. All the trucks (at least 10; it was amazing) were still there when I left the cafe two hours later. Which is, if you know anything about the process of dealing with house fires, unsurprising. There is a lot of administration and subsequent paperwork that go into fires.
(Addendum: I just found the article on the fire and no one died. Some people inhaled some nasty smoke and several families lost their homes, but no one died. Praise God.)
I am not an adrenaline junkie, I don't like roller coasters, horror movies or super fast cars. Well, maybe I do like fast cars, when I'm driving. I understand that there are some people on this planet who live for the little frill of adrenaline that goes around your kidneys and up your spine when you see or experience scary things. I have never understood this. Never. I don't understand the phrase "fun-scary" -- to me, there is no such thing. There is "fun" and there is "scary", but the two do not intersect. I do not get the concept of fear as fun. Fear shouldn't be fun -- if it's fun sometimes, how do you know when it's supposed to be serious? Perhaps it's my past, perhaps it's just my nature, but I don't enjoy horrific scenes of destruction or thrill rides designed to mimic an out of control train or dating American-Style (which always trips my stranger-danger sensors because you're sitting at a table with a stranger who's trying to look down your blouse -- how is this fun or interesting or just not creepy as hell?) so, yes, perhaps I'm a weenie for finding a fire frightening, but I don't think it's entirely unnatural. I felt the fear almost as if I were in the apartments, not across the street. Fire is a very hungry monster, and this one was taller than the trees around it.
Anyway, after the excitement died down (and I'd sat down with my back to the windows), I managed to accomplish something tonight:
Hopefully, this square will reverse that trend. I can't let this lassitude catch hold, so tonight -- after I knit a few more rows to settle myself down again -- I'm going to take a Mommy's Little Helper (or maybe I'll try using my wine; the buzz doesn't last as long, but I just need it to last long enough for me to get to sleep) and try to get some rest. God willing and the creek don't rise, I'll be functional enough tomorrow to get some heavy-duty work done on the day!