“Cole, Cole! Turn off your alarm.” The thing is blaring, what on Earth. I didn’t realize phone alarms could be that loud. I roll over and look at the clock, it’s 2:37 am. What the actual fuck is going on? We don’t have to be awake up 8 am, so why would the alarm be going off?
It is around this time that we, as a group, realize that it is not in fact a phone alarm, but a fire alarm. No, you’ve got to be kidding me. We’re up on the 15th floor, that means it’ll take eight million years to get down the stairs. Finally over the PA system it screeches, “Please evacuate the building. A fire has been reported. Please evacuate the building. A fire has been reported.”
At this point I’m finally a bit more aware, but not fully awake as I had been out cold before being woken up. I roll out of bed trying to collect my thoughts and my things. I mean if this is a real fire we’re going to be trapped outside the hotel for hours until we get an all clear. I throw on a sweater and shoes, and grab my phone and wallet.
My thoughts had bypassed the annoyance with walking down fifteen flights of stairs and was now concerned with how I would entertain myself until they allowed us back in the building. Like shit I was going to stand outside with crying kids and salty guests, hell no! I had my phone or entertainment and I grabbed my wallet with the sole purpose of finding a place to eat at. If I was going to be awake, might as well stuff my face.
We open up the hallway door and are greeted with chatter and people. A man is right in front of the door as I sarcastically ask, “Where exactly are we going?” Then, this beautiful human being says, “I called the front desk, it’s a false alarm we can stay inside.” Awesome fantastic. I had just gotten myself all excited for the possibility of late night snacks. We back our asses back into the room, I rip off my sweater, put my phone and wallet back down and crawl into bed. The alarm continues blaring, sort of stopping and starting as if someone can’t quite figure out how to turn it off. Then we hear the confirmation over the PA system. “We apologize, but this has been a false alarm, you may return to your rooms. For those who had a fire extinguisher sprayed under your door, a cleaning crew will be by to clean it up as soon as possible.”
Confused, and tired we all eventually fall asleep. Looking back and reflecting on the evening I have learned that, in a crisis such as this, I wouldn’t have survived a real fire. According to another guest on the 17th floor, he had made it all the way down to the bottom floor and was outside with a bunch of other people, some in just their boxers. We were two floors below that and didn’t even make it in the hallway… Now as I see it, if a dude hauls ass out of a burning building with no regard for his appearance, he will survive a hotel fire. If someone is outside in full make up, maybe they won’t survive a fire. I learned that I am apparently less concerned with surviving a fire and more with where I can get food at 2:37 in the morning. My advice for surviving a hotel fire? Don’t be like me.
The only good thing that came from this was the five year old kid, walking down the stairs with his backpack and wide eyes because this wasn’t scary, this was an adventure. Excitedly pulling on his dads leg, “Did you see the fire truck dad, did you see it!?” “Yes, yes I saw it.” That kid is going to tell that story for days. It’s not everyday you get evacuated from a hotel. So to the drunk asshole who pulled the fire alarm and sprayed the 16th floor with the entire contents of a fire extinguisher, fuck you. But also thanks, at least I got a Story Time Sunday out of it. I’m thankful this ended up a cute story rather than a Towering Inferno type situation.