Thanksgiving has to be my favorite of all American holidays. There's no agenda, other than sharing thanks and a meal with family, friends and neighbors. I've been particularly looking forward to this Thanksgiving this year. Art and life have been on full blast for the last couple of months. Just to slow down for a day of two was a thought to relish. Did I slow down last week? Not really, but that's a different story.
Imagine, after a week full of Thanksgiving and ensuing festivities, the house was in a state of upheaval. Many things had been left undone. There were extra chairs to put away, dishes to store, sheets and towels to clean, etc.... Therefore, since 6:30 this fine Monday morning, (I started writing this yesterday) I've been in zombie-like focused cleaning mode -- tired, mostly coherent, but determined to get everything done.
At one point in the early afternoon, I heard a loud hissing outside. Not recognizing the sound, I went outside to see if I could tell what it was. It was with great alarm that I smelled natural gas.
Now, years ago, either my grandmother or my mother gave me annual subscriptions to Reader's Digest. Even though I haven't read it in ages, to this day, whatever aches and pains I think "might" be a sign of a serious condition, Reese blames it on Reader's Digest syndrome. Apparently he's tired of perpetual self diagnosing, fueled by constant reading of random incidents and illnesses as condensed by Reader's Digest. (The Reader's Digest Illness of the Month Club is what Reese calls it, as he rolls his eyes. And by the way, I'm in excellent health.)
I REMEMBER reading in Reader's Digest about a horrible natural gas explosion that killed almost an entire elementary school in the 30's or 40's. And, I REMEMBER reading about similar natural gas explosions......so my freak-out-O-meter was in hyper mode. Flustered and exhausted, I walked outside....shoeless.
Thinking that our house, or the neighbor's house could blow up at any minute, I grabbed the phone to call 311. (311 is Houston's help line.) As soon as I explained the gas smell, 311 connected me immediately to 911. In the middle of the conversation explaining the powerful gas smell to the 911 operator, I heard sirens. Someone else had reported the leak, too. It's the fire trucks to the rescue.
If the house was about to explode, and I was to be charred to bits in a newsworthy horrific fire, I wanted my family to be able to identify my body. I hurried inside, which Reader's Digest says to NEVER do, grabbed my wedding ring, pearl earrings, the ivory bracelet I wear everyday -- AND my pink Chucks. My pink Chucks that I paid all of $6 for at a re-sale shop. My pink Chucks that are worth $3 a foot. That's it. That's all I grabbed.
Not convinced that my house wasn't going to blow up, I walked around the block (shod in pink Chucks and wearing identifiable jewelry) to the corner to ask the firemen about the possibility of a gas explosion. They tried to assure me that nothing was wrong, but by the time I walked back to our house, the firemen were knocking on doors on our block to alert ME and two other neighbors of possible danger. They told me to go inside. INSIDE! Aaaaaaaaah!!! Am I the only one alarmed by the situation? What if, like in a Hollywood movie, the house blows up as soon as I open the door?
But like with a lot of things in (my) life, my imagination got the best of me. Nothing happened. The house did not explode. There were no natural gas explosions on the block. The leak is fixed. I'm alive and in excellent health, except for the occasional shudder as I IMAGINE what MIGHT have happened. I AM wearing my pink Chucks today, ready to run out the door at a moments notice....just in case.