Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Total Flamer
I have this list of things I wanted to have happen to me before I died. Most of them are very dirty and involve nudity--and some of those even the participation of another person--but not all of them.

-Learn to play the guitar. (Done!)

-Learn to speak fluent Spanish. (Um... I don't even know enough to make a fake joke answer in Spanish)

-Drive a car all by myself (Done! I made the list a while ago, people)

-See boobies (Done!)

-Solve the basic metaphysical question "Why are there beings instead of nothing at all?" (Done!)

-Eat an entire pig, snout to tail (Ask me again in a week or so)

-Be inside a building when it is on fire (Done!)

The exciting thing is that I accomplished that last one just last night!

It was so awesome.

I take this martial arts class twice a week at this gym. I know it sounds lame, but that's only because it sort of is. Very silly thing for grown people to be doing, but look, the important phrase there is "grown people". As in nobody who needs constant watching or changing or snack-fetching, at least not from me.

Anyway, I pull up to the building and half the lights go out. I took this as a bad sign. But again, this is a place where there are no kids, so I still went in.

About half way through, the air conditioner kicked on after failing during whatever caused the original power crisis. We all sort of noticed a smell and immediately recognized that there had at least been a wire short somewhere; it's a hard smell to describe, like there had been some sparks inside a plastic-coated wire. You know, that kind of sparky-plasticy smell.

Nobody seemed particular upset or disturbed. All the 'roided-out he-men in the weight room next door just kept on abusing the poor, defenseless machines they seem intent on destroying. We as a class made the very poor logical deduction that if they didn't seem worried, we wouldn't either. We were relying on the reasoning skills of people who take supplements, many of which are clearly labeled "WARNING: IF YOU TAKE THIS, YOUR TESTICLES WILL SHRIVEL AND THEN YOU WILL SHORTLY THEREAFTER DIE". Ephedra is a fickle mistress.

In a group setting like that, it's strange how your individual survival instincts are so easily sublimated to those of the herd. All of us together had decided it was reasonable to hitch our survival to the observed reactions of those evolution had granted muscles; one can only wonder "At the expense of what?"

Our workout room is on the second floor of this gym. It was so, so funny as we made our way through the evening to make our funny, funny jokes about how we could, if we needed to, bust out a window and dive into the gym's pool down below if we needed to make an emergency escape.

Then my eyes started to sting and I coughed once or twice. We decided to pack it in early. As we were leaving, a few of us remarked "Hey, where did all the weightlifters go?" Apparently they were able to form the phrase "fire bad" in their heads while we allowed ourselves to be distracted by our stupid higher brain functions.

Also: the pervasive smell had subtly changed from sparky-plasticy to structurey-firey.* The smoke coming out of one of the overhead light fixtures was kind of a hint as well. Something weren't right.

So we left. But just for good measure, in the last 40 feet or so down the hallway downstairs by the racquetball courts, the lights completely failed. It was dark. It was very, very dark. It was as though the building was telling us, "Fine, you may leave, but I'd just like for you to have a glimpse of how this evening could have ended for all of you."

I'm not going to say what happened in the darkness in that hallway between my classmates and me, but we were desperate men in a desperate situation for upwards of 9 seconds. Any port in a storm, people. Any port in a storm.

We never actually saw any flames or anything, so I don't know if there was any kind of significant damage or if the building's still intact or what. I do know that apparently I am so starved for adult human conversation that I will literally walk through fire for it.

OK, "literally" might be a touch strong. But I saw enough smoke to make it not entirely metaphorical either.

I know I hinted at a post about my wife in yesterday's comments to a few of you, but any threat to my life--however ridiculously remote or imagined--must take blogpost preference. Maybe you get Mrs. Pops tomorrow. Or ooh! I also finally finished Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, so we might do 8,000 words on that instead. Cross your fingers.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9


*= I know "firey" is spelled "fiery". That's the word that knocked me out of the spelling bee in 6th grade. I'm not kidding. It's not exactly "asymptote", is it?


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