2:30 am is freaking frigid in auckland. I’m not talking, “it’s a tad chilly”, I’m talking “my teeth are crashing together so hard I mght break one.”

I know this because at the wee hours of this morning I was awakened by a strong urge to pee and the blaring of a polite voice informing me that a fire alarm had been tripped and I could proceed downstairs now or await further instructions.

Um…yeah…did I mention I live on the 11th floor of a 19 floor building. Yeah…so in a groggy state I panicked initially – thinking somehow I had tripped the alarm. As I realized it wasn’t me I checked our peephole for smoke and then stuck my nose out to guage what others were doing…running around kind of frantically with the smell (burning plastic?) in the air.

I rapped on my roommate’s door – she sleeps hard – and gathered a pair of pants and my trusty fleece and started the 11 flights down. But the obstacle was the water streaming down the stairwell. I’m not talking cute trickle here…I’m talking bujagali falls torrents.

Down to the bottom where folks are milling around – but not a lot of folks. One fire truck – lights flashing, firefighters milling – is parked in front of our building. Moments later another and then another. At this point I’m thinking, “how many alarms is this thing to need this many trucks?”

No matter, more folks trickle out. Firefighters, with full gear and hoses, trickle up. One stops the alarm. Folks, shivering in jandals (flip flops) and sheer night clothes huddle together. A few of us laugh as we hear one guy on his cell phone, “I’m at my apartment. (Pause). Its on fire.” (it was all in the delivery).

Five, ten, 20 minutes go by. I’m thinking I’ve brought cat-5-hurricane type bad luck on this place. But it seems I haven’t. apparently some twit was burning something in the hallway.

Yeah…all that ruckus and mess and lost sleep and adrenaline cuz some nitwit was either getting a few jollies are is just too stupid to know better.

11 flights back UP the stairs through sopping carpets…whoever it is better be glad we all don’t know who they are.


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