I get up early, but 3 o’clock is even a bit too soon for me, especially during this Arctic weather we’re having since my heat barely comes up before 7.
In any event, I’m awakened by someone pounding on all the doors, not the most reassuring sound in the middle of the night. All it takes is one sleepy, idiotic person to open the door and…whack, robbed…left for dead.
I have to stop reading Raymond Chandler, but it is New York after all and this is not a doorman building.
I do what any sane Italian girl would do, I jump in my Uggs, go get my grandfather’s trusty rolling pin and stand by the door.
Wait a minute, I think…screw this, I should just call 911.
The woman says, it’s the fire department and they’re at your building right now. I run to the window and sure enough two trucks are double-parked flashing like in the Towering Inferno…just without Paul Newman.
“Omigod,” I say to the woman, “is there a fire?”
“No, but someone’s smoke alarm is going off.”
I hang up, throw my coat over my robe and pajamas and run outside just as they’re pulling away.
Unbeknownst to all, they had shut off our heat and hot water, apparently standard procedure.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I go back in when five minutes later there’s a knock on my door. I open it with the chain still on to find two pudgy policemen who came to see if I’m alright. The woman I spoke to sent them, just to make sure.
The alarm is still going off from an upper floor where the tenant must be away. I’m surprised the firemen didn’t break down the door which is what they normally do. I offer the cops water who politely decline probably hoping for donuts, then leave.
Suddenly the door across the hall flies opens and the little kid who just turned 8 comes out in his Popeye pajamas holding a stuffed alligator (see Howdy Neighbor).
When he said, “Are you okay lady?”
It made the whole episode somehow worth it.
Who said chivalry is dead? It might have to grow a little more, but it’s nice to know it’s just across the hall.