First of all, I want to offer my congratulations to Amber Lynn!
It was my last night on a business stay in the south. At the hotel, I noticed her graduation party banner covering the door of conference room 1 on my way in. When I stopped right in front of the door, I could hear muffled music coming from the room. I continued on my way, wondering what Amber Lynn and her friends were doing at the party. I thought along the way and imagined what kind of games and dancing they might be enjoying this evening.
Apparently, Amber Lynn’s party was pretty hot!
I guess I shouldn’t be so quick to accuse her though. After all, I don’t know for sure if she was responsible. It might have been another set of guests at the hotel who ordered Papa John’s pizza to be delivered hot and fresh at the time that it all happened.
One or the other of those events (or both) might actually be a complete coincidence to the fact that the hotel’s fire alarm went off at 11:30 pm.
Oh, sure, this was the night I had gone to bed a little early. My wife had packed some nice pajamas for me, and I was snug under the covers when I awoke to the alarms.
As I woke, I was more confused than anything. Shaking off the sleepiness, I thought that this was not my alarm. Must be someone else’s. But slowly I awoke enough to recognize that this was a fire alarm.
Probably a drill, I thought, and I almost went back to bed.
But as I awoke a little more, I decided to heed it. I grabbed my wallet and cell phone as I jumped into my shoes and went toward the stairs.
When I arrived at the stairs, I ended up in the middle of another group of guests who were descending from one of the floors above me. Some of their group was excited, as though on an adventure. Some of the group was obviously only half awake and not pleased with the goings-on. But none of them seemed to know what the reason was, as we all piled out the side door at the bottom of the stairs.
Once outside, one of the members of the group hurried ahead to the front of the building. I moved out to the edges of the parking lot and surveyed the activity. I noticed that the advance scout returned to his group, shouting that the pizza had arrived. The patriarchal figure went up to the front of the building to pay for the pies, while other enterprising members of the group lowered a tailgate of a truck and prepared the feast.
I continued around the hotel, hearing bits of conversation. No one had seen or smelled smoke, but someone confirmed that a pipe was burst on the forth floor and water was gushing about.
I observed the many and varied people of the south as they assembled outside. One older gentleman appeared that he only had time to hastily put on some shorts as he left the building. One lady had evacuated in style with a glass of wine in her hand. Some younger people had chosen to make the hotel swimming pool their gathering place, as we all listened to and watched the fire trucks appear.
While I appreciated the opportunity to mingle with the people, I observed something about the climate. At home on a night such as this, I would have expected it to be somewhat warm and comfortable. It was warm, but was also wet with humidity hanging about the air.
To make a short story long, after about a half hour, they allowed certain floors (including mine) to take the stairs back to our rooms. I went to the stairwell nearest my room, but was turned away by a fireman who was sloshing large quantities of water down the stairs and out the door that I had previously used for my escape. I walked the length of the hotel, and used the other stairwell to return to my room.
As I lay down, I drifted back to sleep listening to the sounds of the firemen cleaning up outside.
It was such a popular form of entertainment that they offered a repeat performance at 1:24 am, though this time the alarm only lasted for a minute.
And there was no word on how Amber Lynn’s graduation party concluded.