Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who runs around like a bunch of headless chicken?

Togane Fire Brigade.

Wednesday afternoon we all gathered at Cat's place to enjoy her cooking. Rumours are (well, the weather forcast and the news is telling us that), typhoon Melor is on the way (weeell, has already hit Japan), and we're all hoping that classes will be cancelled. A bunch of refreshingly enthusiastic Norwegian students, you say? Why, yes we are.

Anyway, back in my own crib I nestled in for some good ol' studying. Who am I kidding. I was searching for botfly videos on YouTube, to the extent of almost having the pleasure of having Cat's dinner twice. That's just some of the things I do when you're not around.

Coincidentally I noticed this faint, consistent sound coming from outside. It was barely audible, and therefore I immediately recognized it as the pathetic excuse of a fire alarm at our building.

You see, apparently around here it's more important that your neighbors across the street and everyone outside are able to hear the fire alarm. Not the tenants sleeping inside their apartments. I've experienced the fire alarm once before, right after I moved in. It went off at 03.40 in the morning, and I barely woke up - and I'll wake up from the sound of a pin dropping. It was this annoying sound, like a faint car alarm that wouldn't stop, so I popped my head out on the balcony were it was clearly audible. When I opened my front door the sound was ear deafening. Only a handful of my Japanese neighbors were standing outside - most of my fellow Norwegians remained sound asleep and completely unaware.

That's nice.

When it went off today people were still up and went out to see what all of the commotion was about. What bothered me the most is that there's a god damn fire alarm control panel outside, so these morons easily turn off the whole thing by convenience. Annoying sound, you know.

Back home in Oslo I used to live at a place were the fire alam constantly went off. First of all the sound was unignorable. Even lazy people went out just because of the horrible sound. There was a direct link to the local fire department, and they would come every time - and they were the only one's to turn the alarm off. Of course, if you'd accidentally set of the fire alarm while cooking, there was a button in the kitchen that you could push to stop it within a certain amount of time - that is, if you had managed to remove the source causing the alarm to go off in the first place.

I would always go out when the fire alarm went off - there's 11 floors and so many clutzes living there. There was always a reason for the alarm going of. Big or small. What frustrated me was the countless times I passed some of my stupid (usually Norwegian) neighbors on my way out, trying to turn off the alarm by pushing the button in our shared kitchen. Even tough the alarm wasn't set off at our floor at all. Hellooo.. There might be a fire in our building and you want to (and even think you can) shut off the alarm? Yah, let's not warn our neighbors, shall we. After all, it's an annoying sound.


Today a small group of my Japanese neighbors quickly gathered in front of the fire alarm control panel, to push the "false alarm" button every time the alarm started to ring again. Oh, yah - nice to know that when I'm lying in my bed, suffocating from a gas leak in my kitchen, I can trust you to turn off the alarm. It's probably just a false alarm anyway.

I hate how my language skills come up so short. I can't neither say what I want, yell at who I want nor ask what I want to know. A few of us Norwegians ended up standing around like a bunch of confused cows.

After 15 minutes of the alarm going on and off, silenced by our neighbors pressing the "false alarm" button over and over, we finally got to know that someone had called after a fire brigade. We didn't notice anything that could be causing the alarm.

Suddenly five fire trucks showed up at once and a bunch of stressed fire men came running. As I've already implied, they were running around like headless chicken, apparently without any routine - trying to figure out where the alarm was being set off. The method? They rang people's doorbells. (Hello, might there by any chance be a fire in you apartment? - Sorry I can't answer the door, I've already suffocating in my bed, remember).

After running around for a while they concluded that the alarm must be defected. I think I've understood that they have turned it off for it to be fixed tomorrow.

Screw the typhoon, we all will die in a fire.

Paranoid much.. Me?

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