I live in a townhouse in the core of the city. When you share walls with other people, you can only hope they are as careful as you when it comes to fire safety. I can’t speak for my neighbours so I’ve devised a plan to salvage my favourite things in case of fire.
My first stop will be the upstairs hall closet where I keep coats. There are two that I simply must save. One is a camel cashmere wool blend. It’s fifty years old and it was my father’s. He’s still alive, but I stole it from him a decade ago. It does have sentimental value, but even more important, I look great in it. It is the first ageless classic garment I have owned and I expect to have it forever. I’ll also grab my heavy suede jacket with the lamb’s wool collar, which was also Dad's. It makes me feel cool when I wear it; it gives me street cred in the eyes of the kids twenty years younger than me who shop at vintage stores. I can’t let that burn.
While I’m passing the bathroom on my way downstairs, I may as well grab my toothbrush and toothpaste. If I’m going to be speaking to camera crews about my misfortune, the last thing I want to be is self-conscious about my breath.
My next stop is the kitchen for something purely sentimental. It’s my circus elephant sugar n’ cinnamon shaker. It’s much older than I am and belonged to my mother when she was very young. My sisters love it as much as I do, but I was the first of us bold enough to take it from my mother’s kitchen, so I deserve it.
While I’m in the kitchen, I may as well save my French yellow sugar bowl which I love so much. In fact, I’ll save my Michael Graves coffee maker from Target as well, and the coffee is right there, and my coffee grinder obviously and I may as well throw in the mugs I like because they’re within easy reach. And in the fridge, there’s currently a jar of homemade strawberry jam that my sister made too. I’ll take that. And the Guinness Cheddar. It’s divine.
On my way out of the kitchen, I may as well grab any booze I have in the dining room sideboard. I’ll want something to drink while I sit on the curb being comforted by my friends who have made the journey over because they saw me on the news. Currently I have one bottle of amaretto and one bottle of banana liqueur. I’ll likely just grab the amaretto though. I don’t want to be unrealistic.
As I’m fleeing toward the door I’ll be sure to remove the long mirror off the dining room wall. This way, whatever one-room shanty I may have to move into will look twice as big and will help to keep my spirits up following this tragedy.
Reaching the front door, I’ll step into whatever shoes are in the hall – I’m not picky – and step outside. And there on the street, with my neighbours all around me, I’ll pour myself an amaretto, and ready myself to speak to the nation.