Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The sirens are louder than usual and more persistent. After ten minutes of this racket I go to the window.

Flashbacks to November ’05, only this time there are NINE fire engines parked outside our apartment block and the avenue has been cordoned off three blocks in both directions. A crowd has gathered and is staring up at somewhere that looks alarmingly close to us.

I immediately hear fireman Barry Whybrow’s voice in these situations and go into auto-pilot from years of fire training at the RFH. They were skills I never actually got to use there (which is amazing now that I think about the various drunken escapades I was involved in during that particular period of my life), but need all too often in NY it seems. I check the corridor – a smell of burning but no smoke. In the bedroom however, alongside the smell of burning there is an ominous noise of clanking metal, shouting and banging coming from the direction of 13B on the other side of the wall. Hang on – that’s our ‘love, marriage and relationship Gua’. It can’t burn down! I can’t even begin to imagine what the burning down of an entire Gua means in Feng Shui, but I’m sure it’s not good. This being no wimpy ‘two engine fire’ just a wall away from us, I start shutting windows and doors and get my jacket.

‘I think the fire’s on the other side of our bedroom wall’.
The TH, who has clearly never done one nanosecond of fire training in his life, sits back down on the sofa.
‘What are you doing?!’
‘I’m watching the end of ‘House’.
‘Oh okay – I’ll tell the fire to wait until ‘House’ has finished shall I……’.
‘It’s under control now’.
‘And you know this HOW?’

I vaguely remember being taught about people like the TH in fire training too, and seem to recall that you’re supposed to knock them out. (Or was that life-saving someone who’s drowning?)

A lot of the tenants are in the lobby or collecting underneath the scaffolding outside. It’s rare you get to see the inhabitants of the whole building together like this and the doorman is not finding the fact that the building is on fire during his shift anywhere near as difficult as the fact that all his ‘girlfriends’ are suddenly all together in one place, demanding his usually forthcoming ‘special attention’.

It’s warm outside, but there are miniscule shivering dogs everywhere, because clearly they’re too tiny to maintain any kind of sensible body temperature. I have to concentrate hard not to tread on them.

Most gatherings of more than two people in NY turn into a ‘speed dating’ event sooner or later, and the TH has scored within seconds, as some scantily-clad-twenty-something-yr-old-stranger starts telling him all about her last disastrous relationship, and asks if all men in the UK are ‘nice like him’. Only in New York. I move over and put my arm through his. She looks devastated, and is suddenly not interested in his company and wanders off to order a takeout to be delivered to her ‘on the sidewalk where the fire is’. A couple of apartments are burning down and the neighbours are hitting on each other’s husbands and ordering their dinner. 
Don’t you just love this city.

The fire out, we trudge back up 26 flights of stairs, where it becomes all too apparent who goes to the gym and who doesn't.  On the upside, nobody was injured this time around, and it turns out that the fire wasn't in our relationship Gua. It remains to be seen who or what is......


Anonymous Anonymous said...

darling! isn't it sad that in new york perfectly attractive 20-something women are so desperate that they use a fire to chat up other people's husbands in the lobby. sad but true. sigh! i just pray she doesn't live in 13b. love T

12:29 AM, May 14, 2008  
Anonymous Marquis said...

I'll find out what's in 13B if I have to drill a hole through the wall and shout, "Halt! Who goes there! What's the looooove password?"

TERRIBLY glad your flat hasn't been flattened, and not just for your own benefit. (28 May doth creep steadily towards us. Mark your calendar and plan your outfit!)

There's a beam that splits our bed in half, but it's hidden by a dropped ceiling. I'm wondering if the crypto-beam is causing me relationship troubles, and the fact that it's hidden might mean I cannot see what the problem might be.

Anyway, looking very much forward to begetting a son and heir in your guest room, which will be a neat trick between me and my boyfriend, but Feng Shui don't lie.

--votre Idol Americain

1:05 PM, May 25, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - that all happened on my birthday! Glad to have found your blog again - just did a google on jazzshark and it didn't take long! I sent you an e-mail yesterday, so you can x-reference who I am....

8:45 AM, May 29, 2008  

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