What’s Important? Surprisingly Very Little (READ: Just About Everything)

house burningIn an apartment I lived in some years ago, the building’s alarm went off one night after most of the tenants had gone to bed. For whatever reason, I instinctively knew it was a false alarm.

I left the building like everyone else, but I was surprised to see that more than a few of my neighbors had gathered up their pets and belongings. I was a little embarrassed that I was there in only my bathrobe with nothing else of consequence than my keys. So many people had such frantic looks of total panic that I withdrew inside myself to figure out why I was so blasé about the whole thing.

In the end, I was proved right about it being a false alarm: A malfunction that took 5 weeks to fix (building management had to post a notice to ignore alarms until further notice).

But let’s say it was a genuine emergency. If the cat and goldfish I had at the time were safe, as the prompt suggests (yes, I had both, at the same time. The cat stared at the goldfish for hours on end, but never once made a play for it, I swear to God), then I would have grabbed the laptop, cell phone (yes, yes…we had those things in those days), my purse, and then, depending on how urgent the evacuation really was, a couple of changes of clothes and a couple of keepsakes. I wouldn’t think of what, I’d just react and grab. But, it wouldn’t be photos. There are too damn many. There would be no way to choose.

The sad truth is the cat would be most of the battle to get out in time. Unless someone magically shows up just save the pets, I’d be leaving with just the clothes on my back.

Now, if I had time—say the fire was at the other end of that enormous building from where I lived and they weren’t as concerned with our evacuation as a result—I would have gathered as many precious keepsakes as possible, all the photos I mentioned before, and various artworks. I’d bundle up the most of the Christmas decorations and some Halloween stuff, because I’ve enjoyed collecting all that stuff. But, I’d be grateful for the opportunity to start over with furniture and clothing, though I’d be sorry to lose the dining room table/chairs. It took me a long time to find those.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Burning Down the House.” https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/burning-down-the-house/

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