Click the arrow if you’d like me to tell you my story, rather than read. I am getting good at this!
Four months into Halifax living, I have a new mantra, expect the unexpected.
Project Friend has been going along tickety-boo, and I’ve been reaping its rich rewards.
Last Friday, I met with my friend Susan at Hali-Deli for a loooong lunch, and then Saturday evening, I had drinks with my friend Sandy downtown, at The Economy Shoe Shop, followed by a party, on Agricola Street, which turns out to be a bit of an artsy haven.
At the party, I couldn’t turn around without knocking against a writer, musician or artist, not to mention, the live music and singing, by East Coast real musicians. Basically, it was hubbub that reminds you that you are alive, baby! You are alive!
Sunday afternoon I had my book group, hosted by Cape-Breton-born Cas, who lives in a charming circa 1900 house on Gottigen Street. And bonus, Cas baked a cake with boiled icing. And yes, I said boiled icing… think soft marshmallows on chocolate fudgey deliciousness.
In between all this socializing, I was also writing frantically to meet an end-of-term deadline.
All to say, I was tuckered out by the glittery life I lead now and happily hit the hay on the early side at the end of the weekend.
My sleeps, by the way, are magnificent here, mostly because my bedroom is really more a bed-womb.
It’s teeny, with a low ceiling, dark, and very, very warm, and in it, I have, hands down, the best sleeps of my life. They’re kind of like the sleeps you had way back when you were a kid… head hits the pillow and… you are gone.
Now, the window in my room faces the street, and I happen to live half a block from one of the most hopping’est bars in town, The Seahorse.
I’ve become accustomed to the 2am end of the night crowd, either starting up their cars, parked along the street, or bumbling along yakking ay the tops of their lungs. I usually wake up briefly, then nuzzle into my down comforter, and I’m back into dreamland in seconds flat.
To be honest, I’ve sort have grown fond of the wee hour wake-up. It reminds me there’s a big world out there, with lots of action and life.
So, that night I woke up to the bar ker-fuffle around 3am, albeit a little later than usual. And I also noticed instead of one or two people, it sounded like a dozen or more were running up and down the street.
Weird is all I thought.
And then, I heard someone yell, “Call the cops.”
I figured it must have been a fight at the bar or something and soon fell back asleep, only to be woken next by my neighbours upstairs, clomping around like they had on construction boots filled with rocks and decided to practice tap-dancing up and down the length of the room.
Now, his should have twigged something was a bit off kilter, since normally, while I do hear them walking about in the morning, it’s usually around 6am or so.
I just pulled a pillow over my ears to drown out the clomping. But then, I heard sirens wailing.
Okay… time to peek out the window. So, when I did peer out, I counted four cop cars parked out front.
So much for a fight. I thought, perhaps, it might be a big drug bust, maybe even a murder! Nothing I could do about it, so I climbed back into bed and rolled into my favourite spoon-sleeping position.
And finally. Halleluiah. The clomping upstairs was done, and though I heard a couple more sirens in the distance, I’d slept through worse. And then…
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Now what? For heaven sakes, how was I ever to get any sleep?
I stumbled out of bed to the front door to see who was banking and opened it up to a giant cop and my upstairs neighbour, Dan.
“There’s a fire,” said the cop, “and we need to evacuate the building. You’ve got to leave”
“But we don’t have anywhere to evacuate to,” I warbled at the cop, while I thought, what fire? I couldn’t smell a thing.
It was obvious, though, the cop wasn’t going anywhere until I was out, so I woke Warren, and we dragged on our coats, grabbed the dog, Bella, and headed outside.
“Wait a second,” I said to Warren after I locked the door to our flat, still in doubt of this fire, and I walked behind our building to have a look-see.
Gulp. Great balls of fire all right.
Huge, massive and blazing flames. And the building, on fire, well, it was mostly not even there and more. And yah, I finally smelled smoke (for the first time), but I was completely perplexed why the huge clouds of smoke gusting everywhere had not permeated our little cave.
Out on the street, we joined up with the rest of my neighbours, which was when I found out we were almost missed in the evacuation. The door to our flat is pretty much mystical in that no one can ever find it, including cops and firemen. Luckily, Dan from upstairs noticed we weren’t out on the street, which is how he ended up banging on my door, with the cop.
Turns out, my neighbours were woken first by the crackling sound of the fire and then the whoosh as it got going, not to mention the smell and the light.
Meanwhile, in the cave, I didn’t smell the fire. I didn’t hear the fire. I didn’t see the fire. Seems the cave is not only submerged, dark and impervious to outside sound and light, apparently, as I now knew, it’s also immune to the blaze of the three-story monster that was currently consuming an entire building.
Luckily, the burning building was vacant, so no one was in it when the fire started, and everyone, everywhere was safe.
Knowing that, Warren and Bella and I took front row seats across from the blaze and got to watch the firemen in action. By about 4:30am or so, most of the fire had converted to smoke, and it seemed safe to head back in to our flat, so off we went.
When we got inside, it still didn’t smell like smoke, and my cozy bed-womb was waiting.
My landlady, Janet, was over for tea on Tuesday, and we spent a good deal of time discussing the fire. She told me the big empty lot directly across the street from the building was all that remained from a massive fire last year, which razed a museum that stood on the land. They’d had to evacuate our building for that one too.
Hmmm… I’m really hoping these things don’t come in threes.
I suppose if they do though, I have a year or so to wait for the next one.