Saturday, October 30, 2004

The lights, they are so bright.

This is twice in less than twenty four hours that I've been blinded by the flood lights on a fire engine.

Last night, with about twenty minutes left to my shift, the fire alarm at work went off. It's the first time I've heard the one at the new place, and it's marginally annoying. It's better than the old-school ringing bell that we had in the projection booth office, which was the loudest thing I've ever heard, but could be silenced. One of my coworkers kept a green hoodie in the office for the times when it got frosty cold. We'd take that and shove it between the bell and the clapper durring the monthly fire alarm tests. The new alarm is also LESS annoying than the alarm at the old basement office. That thing just blared on and on behind our cubicles and there was no way to make it quieter. This one is very loud, and you can't accomplish anything with it going on, but in between the electronic squawks, there's this voice that says that there is an alarm and you must leave the building until you are told it's safe to return.

So, anyways. Fire alarm. Trucks with bright lights. I'm looking around wondering if it's for real, or if it's some scheduled test no one bothered to tell me about (hey, I'm just the hd. I dunno). And I figure hey, it's kind of for real, all the NOC folks are looking for the source of the alarm. Long story short, they found out it was a fire alarm in a certain sector of the building, but there was no evidence of fire or excess heat. They were on the phone with Guardian, but no one knew the codes, so that meant that Guardian had to send the fire truck and police car anyways. They had their flood lights on when I was leaving/waiting for James, and it was like standing on the surface of the sun. The parking lot got really warm really quickly. It was kind of a neat, stark look against the trees and the carpet of brown leaves covering the parking lot with the bright lights and the shadows. It was really cool up until I was blinded.

I also heard the fire trucks came out a total of 5 times last night, because no one knew the codes. It turned out even the boss didn't have them, they had to go to facilities management for them.

Tonight I was surfing the internet, and we heard a loud screach that lasted a really long time, then a thud. We looked out the window and James said that he could tell there were injuries, so he called 911, and I headed outside to see if there was anything I can do. There was a black car parked on the side of the road about half a block from the corner of our street, an old boxy brown buick in the middle of the road, a red ranger with it's side impacted up on the sidewalk and a silver SUV behind that. In the time it took me to get down the stairs, put on shoes and get out there, a guy from the beer distributor was already directing traffic, the girl in the silver car was already talking to/comforting the driver in the red car, and the police could be heard just up the hill. About a minute after that, the place filled up, two ambulances, two police cars and a fire truck. The guy directing traffic went back on the sidewalk to watch because the street was blocked on both ends. I was SO happy to not be on the buses that were backing up on both sides of the accident. There's a tiny gravel drive between 22nd and 23rd that some of the cars were using (backward up the one way street and everything) but the buses were stuck.

The poor guy in the yellow shirt looked a year or two younger than me. I think I went to high school with him. TWO of his cars were in the accident. From what I could gather, the teenager driving took the corner too quickly and skidded on the rain-soaked road. The driver was able to get out, but there was another girl in the back that they had to cut out. It took 'em a while, but they got her on a board and in the ambulance pretty efficiently.

I took off pretty much after that happened. I felt like a cleche, the nebby neighbor on the sidewalk, gawking. That's why I didn't stick around last night at work when they were talking to the cops. I had nothing to contribute, so I had James pick me up early.

Liblah. Timmidah. Timmay.


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