Sunday, January 25, 2009

Welcome to Kelly’s Life, Episode 12

It was a dark and stormy Friday night…

I went home to my shiny old apartment, and my creepy neighbors, and lit some candles I had just bought at Target in an attempt at a quiet and restful evening. And that’s when I set fire to the place. When I smelled smoke, I thought, “Damn those cheap Target candles anyway”, and thought, “Well, they just need to smoke themselves out.” And I continued to read. But then I got up and checked, just in case. And it became quickly apparent that the wall was on fire. It was quite curious to see fire coming off the beautiful dried flower wreath I had hanging on the wall. The flames gently burning the lavender and roses, melting the glue that had held it all together and dropping the brightly flaming pieces onto the floor, while charring the wall to a smoky hue on the way down. I took the wreath, what remained of it, and calmly FLUNG it into the sink, turned the water on full, and calmly watched as the fire sizzled out.

After I heroically put the fire out (while passing up a fine opportunity to invite over some firemen), I walked back into the kitchen and sat back down, not ready to deal with the consequences of completely lacking any semblance of common sense and intelligence. But then quickly realized that I would in fact soon pass out from smoke inhalation. I noticed a thick black cloud of smoke hanging halfway down from the ceiling to the floor, so I opened all the windows, and let the cold air consume the smoke, while hoping the neighbors didn’t notice the indoor barbecue I had going on in there.

I imagine now, the conversation to be had with the landlady. My apartment lease specifically states that smoking is prohibited in the building, of cigarettes, cigars, and the like. And I suppose walls too, although, that was never specified. So technically, I bet I could talk my way out of it. But I’m sure that I will hang my head in a properly charming manner, and explain, “I was not smoking. I had no smoking visitors. And yet, yes, my apartment does indeed exude a smoky aroma. That is not because I smoke, it is merely because I set the place on fire. And I am not an arsonist.”

Yes. I’m sure she’ll understand. And not ever return my damage refund to me.

So instead, I will spackle the spot where the paint bubbled up from the heat. And then I will hang a picture on that very spot. Maybe a picture of flowers. An irony only I will identify with.

I liked that wreath. I bought it from a sweet old lady at the farmer’s market.

It was brought to my attention (after the fire) by a dear friend, concerned for my well being, and familiar with my inclinations towards dramatic personal events – that the Target candles probably had a warning label. They likely stated something to the effect of not doing certain things, such as leave the room while the candle is burning, keeping the wick trimmed, and not setting open flames under flammable materials. You know, the Target corporate legal departments required warnings that are most often disregarded by people like me (clearly).

The wreath on the other hand, probably was completely, irresponsibly, and dangerously not manufactured according to established UL codes, and was sold without the very important warning that fire is bad. And that I may, therefore, have a case against aforementioned sweet old lady. The wreath label had there been one, should have included some of the following information: extremely dry organic materials such as dried flowers shaped into wreaths may be flammable when placed over an open flame; Exercise caution – may burn when set on fire. The sweet old lady’s negligent construction methods can only lead to one conclusion: she does not have teams of lawyers like Target does, and therefore, has no case. Although, after years of litigation, I may only win her stall down at the farmers market and a pile of dry organic flowers, and my lawyer would want half of it anyway.

So the moral of the story:

1. Don’t set things on fire, particularly not when you rent.
2. I should not be left home alone on Friday nights.
3. Maybe I should not have moved the fire detector after all, as it was previously located not 24 inches from where the fire started. Oh the humanity.