Saturday, January 31, 2009

I have a very severe fear of my apartment burning down. As a kid I used to wake up in the middle of the night, convinced that I heard arsonists creeping around outside our trailer. This is largely because of the day the man across the street died in a fire, but that happened all the time in our trailer park, people's homes being burned down. I remember once a place burned when the family was out and a girl was babysitting the only child; she panicked and ran out, and the baby, family cat, and bird all died. They hauled the remains of the trailer to an open space by our bus stop until it could be dealt with, and the boys all said that if you peeked in the windows you could make out their sad charred remains. I was never brave enough to look.

As a result I often catch myself listing in my head the things that I would grab if I were here and there was a fire, mapping out where they are located and what would be the best route to get to them. My box of family photos, and my great grandfather's books. The quilt I've slept with all my life. Grandad's maps, his painting, and the ring he had made for me. The ship in a bottle, if there's time. A few other things. It turns out that I have a whole plan for piling everything into my quilt like a very large hobo bindle and escaping with it, although I don't recall ever deciding to make such a plan.

But the other day we had an earthquake, and though I slept through it, it made me realize that I don't have an earthquake plan. I think I have a lot of research to do.

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