It's not about the house.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Here's How It Started

Well, it started with the truck not starting, but you knew about that already.

And I'll skip the part about the taking a half hour to find a parking spot and then finally finding one and having to dig through the truck for quarters because that's pretty de rigeur.

So my appointment was at 1:00. I have a habit of being early. For everything. But especially for doctor's appointments. I find that if you're early, they'll often take you early, but if you're on time they make you sit there until you're 45 minutes late. So I like to be early.

But in this place it doesn't matter. The procedure here is that they check you in, and then they wait until the very second that your appointment is, and then they page your dentist. So however long it takes him/her to come from wherever he/she was, that's how late you start off, no matter what time you arrived.

It's no so bad, really. Having been early and all I watched the process happen a few times, and the doctors usually came withing five minutes. So when 1:00 rolled around, and they paged mine, I thought I knew what to expect.

But the fire alarm wasn't what I expected at all.

It started with just the flashing light, which takes a minute to even register out of the corner of your eye. Then a tone sounded and a voice came on: "This alarm means a threat has been determined to a portion of the building. At this time we will only evacuate the portion of the building known to be threatened. Listen for your floor's alarm tone at the end of this message, and if you hear it, then find the nearest staircase and exit calmly. If you don't hear your alarm tone, then you may remain in the building."

Well, that's reassuring.

So the message repeated itself while we all sat there staring at the red box on the wall and wondering if the building was going to blow up before we even got to the end, but it didn't. And when she was finished talking, a tone sounded for abou two seconds and stopped.

But was it the tone? Nobody could be sure. This one said that was the generic tone and our tone would sound different, but she couldn't say what it would sound like. This one over here said she'd heard a completely different tone in her office -- was still hearing it, in fact. Finally it was determined that we didn't have to go anywhere.

So I stayed in my seat by the window and watched the whole rest of the building pour out onto the sidewalk. Watched the fire trucks arrive and the firemen pour out of them. Hey, I'd already paid the lady for my appointment and it wasn't cheap. I wasn't going to walk out until I smelled smoke.

But apparently my doctor was.

To be continued...

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