Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fire Alarms

            “It was a cold a blustery day.” It was so rainy and windy that I said that line a half dozen times and it eventually convinced me to go home and watch the original Winnie the Pooh where the line comes from. Celia learned to say “Pooh Bear”, and we were warm and snug after all.
            But the day didn’t start out that way. It was cold, windy, and the rain was whipping through the neighborhood sideways. But it was my day off, and I just had to take Celia out.
            After considering my options, the indoor play-gym at the local community center seemed like the best bet. We had a grand old time running from toy to toy, stacking blocks, jumping on the see-saw and whipping around in cars. Then, some kid pulled the fire alarm. I know a kid did it because one of the dad’s present told the staff, but they didn’t care. It was time to follow procedure.
            “Everybody out!”
            I shook my head in disbelief. There were easily three dozen kids there, with all their parents. Not to mention all the people upstairs at the fitness center. This was going to take awhile.
            We dawdled, and I let Celia play as long as possible before finally extricating her, to tears, from her newest discovery. Our saving grace was the firetruck.
            “Look! Celia! It’s a firetruck!”
            Celia instantly stopped crying, and we walked out into the rain to look. The firemen were quite friendly, well aware that this was an alarm pulled by a child, and were happy to show Celia some of their stuff. She pointed at the flashing red lights and said, “Light!”
            “Yes, my Sweetheart. Those are lights. When they leave, they’ll turn them off.” I went on to explain to Celia all that I could about the firetruck and those firemen. I realized, as I was showing her the hose, how great this had ended up. Celia’s never seen a firetruck up close, especially one in action. What a great opportunity!
            And then, the next thing that struck me was that all three dozen other kids were huddled together under the awnings. Nobody else was taking advantage of this opportunity. “What’s wrong with these people?” I muttered to Michelle. “They’ve got a firetruck in action right in front of them to show their kids, and they’re all just huddled there, waiting it out.”
            Michelle shrugged. I suppose it’s just a different way of looking at life. A wise old man once told me that the moments of life where we’re truly living happen during the interruptions. In other words, just go with it. You never know how great life can be unless you do.

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