January 27, 2004

Light My Fire

I don't know what to write about tonight...so I guess I'll tell one of my favorite, most thrilling stories from college. The first time my dorm set fire. It happened twice that year, the second time causing more lasting damage, but the first time was particularly harrowing for moi.

At the time me, my roomate, and the kids across the hall had all decided that we should make our two rooms into a commune. We put all the beds in one room. Three of us put our matresses on the floor to make one big bed and we made our arch-enemy, the baby talkng girl, sleep alone up on the top of a bunk bed. We put all the desks in the other room, so we had a bedroom and a workroom, and with the addition of a pair of pet mice it was a messy, stinky pit.

This was when we started our sandwich business. We stole ingredients from the cafeteria and made fliers. We'd deliver peanut butter and banana sandwiches to your dorm room at any hour day or night. If people had seen the conditions those sandwiches were made under we certaintly wouldn't have had so many calls, but as it was we were reeling in the dough--100% profits and we spent it all on pot.

The night of the fire I was at my desk in the work room. My semester paper was due very soon, so I was sitting in front of my computer procrastinating. The stereo was on and I was talking on the phone. The door was shut and everyone else was across hall. As I sat by my computer, in front of the window, fire truck pulled up on the lawn. "Woah," I exclaimed "something is on fire!" I went back to my conversation and a few seconds later another trunk pulled up, I noticed all the kids standing outside, "Wow, something really is on fire!" I said as I stood up and leaned against the window to get a better look.

A security guard on the lawn caught my eye. He started waving at me furiously, "oh my God!" I yelled, "I've got to get out of the building!" I hung up and ran out into the hallway expecting to see my other commune members, but everyone was gone. They'd left without me! I didn't have time to put my shoes on even though it was late November. I ran into the stairwell and found that it was completely filled with black smoke, "Oh My God!" I exclaimed again, but before I could do anything an arm emerged from the smoke. It was the security guard. He grabbed me and we ran down the pitch black stairs. I ran out of the building and across the wet lawn.

I stood outside in my stocking feet staring at the flames filling one of the first floor bedrooms. The fire raged for quite a while and I was forced to retreat into the tea house to warm my feet. Eventually the flames went out and the damage wasn't so bad. My friends all told me that they'd thought I'd already left the building. The next day I called my teacher and asked for an extension on my paper. She gave it to me, I think mostly because she wanted to hear what happened. It turned out a girl on the bottom floor had left a lit cigarette (we're not sure what kind) in an ashtray and it somehow rolled out into the closet catching on her highly flamiable wardrobe.

Posted by on January 27, 2004 9:37 PM