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Knowing what's important

It had an interesting night Monday night.  I woke up at 2:00 am to the fire alarms blaring.  I leapt out of bed,  made sure my roommate was up (I think she could sleep through anything) and then tried to corral the cats.  I managed to get one, and the second one refused to come out from his spot inside the box spring.  I crossed my fingers that this was just a false alarm, grabbed my coat, the cat carrier, my purse, my keys, and my roommate, and we headed out.

Carrying 15 pounds of cat down 10+ flights of stairs is an adventure, by the way.

We stood in the parking lot of the building, hoping that the lack of sirens meant that it was a false alarm.  A number of my neighbors commented that this had happened about two years ago, sometime before I moved into the building, and that was reassuring.  It was a nice evening, but I was glad I had a jacket.  A number of people left their apartments without anything in their hands – no coats, no keys, nothing.  It’s important to get out as fast as possible, but since I keep my purse and my keys in a very specific place, it was easy to grab them as I left.

The alarm finally went off, and people started to go back into the building.  It came back on for a few seconds, and then finally stopped.  We waited a while to see if we would get an all clear, but didn’t hear anything (we had come out onto the back parking lot, and based on the number of people with us, most people must have gone down to the front of the building).  Finally, we went back in.  Luckily for the scaredy-cat, it was all a false alarm.

I found out this morning that someone had pulled the fire alarm in a back hallway on the first floor.  It may have been a prank, but it’s also not an uncommon ploy for someone looking to break into an apartment.  People race out, often leaving their doors unlocked.  In our building, the doors lock automatically behind you by default, but you can change that.  I haven’t heard if they caught the person or if anything was missing, or if it was actually just a stupid prank to begin with.

As I was standing in the parking lot, I didn’t once think about the items in my apartment that might burn up.  I was worried about my cat, obviously, but at no point in time did my things cross my mind.  I did have a fleeting thought that I wasn’t all that well dressed and might need some other clothes, but it was a general “I need clothes” thought, not “Oh no, my pink sweater!”

It was one of those moments where I realized what was important.  Sure, I would have been upset if everything I owned burned up, and the loss of my cat would have been devastating, but everything else was replaceable.  It’s just stuff.

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