It is 1 a.m. right now. I've just passed gas, and all my neighbors know about it. Let me backtrack.
I left my place Friday night to spend the weekend at Capricorn's house, Bailey and all. One marathon session of The Wire Season 3, one viewing of "John Tucker Must Die (and so must that movie", one road trip to an outlet mall and several chocolate desserts later, it was time for me to head back on Sunday night.
I got back around 11:10 p.m... these are the events that transpired...
11:12 It's raining, as it has been all day. I've got some bags and Bailey's cage to bring in, so I leave Bailey in the car as I take a trip inside. I open the door, flick on the lights... and immediately smell gas. Considering I write for a newspaper, I've read/written way too many stories that start out, "An 89-year-old woman was killed today in a fiery explosion after a gas leak," I was a little freaked out.
11:13 I realize that one of the stove knobs must have been bumped. The gas stove in this apartment has knobs that can be easily moved to an "on" position without much effort- just slightly push in and turn; I've already done it a couple times accidentally, but immediately realized it.
11:13 and 5 seconds: I decide to brave it. I run to the kitchen like a 6-year-old girl outrunning a boy with cooties, and see one knob slightly turned. I flick it back to off, and tore open the shutters and windows like it was the Night Before Christmas up in this mother.
11:14 I call Capricorn, who was expecting me to call when I got home. "Hey, Capricorn. So, I'm back, and, uh, the gas has been left on since Friday and I'm hoping the house won't blow up. What's new with you?"
11:15 Capricorn and I agree to get away from the house, and I tell her I'll call the fire department. Capricorn immediately reminds me she had been worried this was going to happen, as those knobs are about as childproof as a loaded shotgun.
11:17 I call 911. My initial request is, "Hey, the gas has been left on for a few days, I turned it off and opened the windows, is there anything else I can do?" The goal was to avoid the whole spectactle of emergency crews arriving. I didn't need Hazmat and FEMA showing up (in hindsight, if I didn't want FEMA to show up, I could have just reported a broken levee). The 911 lady said she'd send someone over just to be safe.
11:19 A fireman arrives in his own pickup, and an ambulance follows. I figure, no biggie, this sounds about right. He'll make sure everything's fine, and the ambulance crew will make sure I'm not dying. Then the fireman says, "Yeah, it'll just be a minute or so until the trucks arrive." The trucks-- it's just a gas leak? I wonder.
11:21 Strip clubs don't have this many flashing red lights. There were now five fire trucks, three fire pickup trucks and the ambulance all around my complex parking lot. We were a billow of smoke away from the Marine Corps arriving.
11:22 I'm (nicely) told to wait in a pickup truck to stay out of the rain. Some of the firemen are checking inside to make sure the pilot lights are OK, and to help ventilate the place. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Denis Leary or John Travolta. Neither appear.
11:25 Neighbors are now filtering out and staring at my apartment, much the same way you look at a car wreck on the highway. It's amazing how you feel guilty at this moment, as if you've done something scandalous because there are emergency officials at your house. It's like when you get pulled over by a cop and passing drivers leer at you. I talk myself out of throwing a match at my apartment and giving my nosy neighbors a show.
11:26 It'd be a legendary show, Andy.
11:27 No, Andy, your flat screen would blow up.
11:30 The firemen tell me I did the right thing to turn off the stove and ventilate the place. I couldn't help but overhear one guy say, however, how he was bummed the place wasn't on fire. I can understand that, though. A gas leak for a firemen must be the blue balls of emergency response.
11:40 The fire trucks leave, and I'm allowed to reenter my home, which I was assured is safe even though I keep feeling I'm one spark away from hosting a Chinese New Year's party.
11:41 Capricorn and I talk on the phone again, and we agree I need to talk to the landlord about doing something about those knobs. I also take the opportunity to run out and snap a few photos of the spectacle. I've got blog readers to think about in these tragic times.
11:42 Remember Bailey? Yeah, he's been in my car this whole time. I finally let him out. He's so excited about all the fire trucks, he poops in the grass as soon as possible.
11:50 A gas company official arrives. He's got to do his own tests. He tells me he recently got called to a place where a Great Dane bumped the stove knob and caused gas to leak. This is what happens when you have a horse for an indoor pet.
11:51 I wonder if my neighbors are going to hate me now for all of this.
11:52 I wonder if my neighbors have gas leaks all the time, too.
11:53 I wonder if this one neighbor in particular ever wears real pants, as I've only seen him in weird boxer shorts walking his dog.
12:10 a.m. I'm supposed to be at work at 8 a.m., and yet there is no way I'm going to bed anytime soon. A) I still have to vent the whole place and there's a cold draft B) I just had five fire trucks outside my f'in door C) I wanted to write this and post it first, just in case I die.
12:30 Well, yeah, a gas leak is not going to spark that easily-- not unless we're on the set of "Deep Blue Sea." But you'd think, at this point, we'd have the knowledge to design stove knobs that don't accidentally cause gas leaks.
1:00 Capricorn and I agree to get the childproof rings for the knobs, and I'm going to request our landlord put similar rings on everybody else's stoves. I don't want to die because of a Great Dane. I want to die because I got attacked by a Great White shark. That would be legendary.
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