the day i didn’t save anyone’s life…


Saturday was almost an eventful day.

But not quite.

While on my near-daily walk, I started past a beautiful brick building that I have admired for years. It’s charming style and interesting structure have always been appealing to me, and behind the building there is a hidden little garden area, complete with birdbath, picnic table and trellis. Though it’s just a tiny little place, it’s rather special as it exists in the middle of a shared parking lot, hidden under the trees and trellis and connected to the back of the brick building. Which is unfortunately a law office, and not my home and workspace, as it should be.

But I was not in the back at the secret garden. I was in the front, making ready to pass by as is usual. A fierce hissing sound stopped my feet from their wandering, and caused my head to spin around. I walked up to the building to where the hissing was coming from, and caught a whiff of a strong odor I thought might be gas. I looked at the meter. It was right there in front of me, dials spinning madly, like overwhelmed shoppers on Black Friday. I’d never seen this before. Any of the meters I’ve ever seen are just static, just sitting there telling the meter reader you are paying too much for your heat this winter. This meter looked like a set from a movie, where the action hero comes up to a bomb that is about to go off and all the dials are singing their final aria. Like any good Samaritan, I continued my walk to the park. Because I needed to get a picture of my tree.

Hey, stop judging me!

Actually the park is only one block away, and there was a cop stopped at the light, so I figured I would try to catch him before he drove away and tell him about the office building. But he left. And then I was right there at the park so I took my damn picture, ok? It’s cute.

I don’t have a cell phone that works, so I scurried off to the house next door to the law office building and pounded on their door. Mayhaps I should start carrying a cell phone. After I rudely pounded on the door of the home, a timid and worriful looking woman appeared in the doorway. Her alarmed eyebrows told me she wasn’t used to being solicited at her home or convinced by total strangers that she needed a copy of the Watchtower to save her soul. She looked like strangers made her cry, and that she might be considering Agoraphobia. Also she smelled like cat piss.

She and the strange little man she probably called her boyfriend listened to me talk about the hissing, spinning house next door to them, and yes, they thought I should call someone. Interesting, in my mind, because if I were them I would have been on the phone myself, concerned that a house blowing up next to me might actually have an impact on my life. No matter. They seemed busy with a day of Dungeons and Dragons. And cat piss.

I ran home and called the hotline for downed power lines and leaks. I was certain the building was about to go up in smoke. The helpful woman on the line wondered if it were possible for me to stay at the house and wave down the energy man that would be there within the next hour. Of course! I hung up the phone and ran back to the building, bringing my copy of The Tomb with me, in case it actually did take an hour. (hey, your idea of waving down a man and mine might differ. i was willing to wait)

Mr. Energy and Gas showed up within ten minutes, and certain that I had saved the lives of everyone on the block, I waved him into the driveway next to the law office. I told him about the hissing, and the gas smell, and the twirling, excited dials that I’ve never seen spin so fast. I’d even looked at three other buildings on my way home from the walk to compare spinning factors, and none of those meters were spinning off their tops like this one.

But, alas. This is normal, he said. He would look at it, but it was completely normal.


But I walk by here everyday! I’ve never heard this noise, or smelled this smell from this building. It’s an explosion nearly averted, and I helped keep this gorgeous building in tact, and saved the lives of all the workers. Right?

And in my reality, the one I call Denelliopolis, I was cheered and thanked, and had my face on the newspaper as a local hero. But in the real world, where mere mortals live, I was just wrong about yet another incident in life, and had another day in which I saved the life of no one.


About denelle

writer. artist. ponderer.

Posted on November 16, 2010, in biographical, thoughts and reflections and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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