Inhuman Swill : Emergencies

A bit nippy in here

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A new natural gas setback here this morning. This time the leak is in a pipe in our front clothes closet. The pipe comes up through the basement, takes a bend through an elbow joint, and goes through a wall into the closet with our furnace. Well, the horizontal pipe going to the furnace runs at a bit of an angle to avoid another pipe, and that means the elbow joint isn't perfectly sealed.

We had thought we smelled gas in that closet occasionally, but this time the smell was unmistakable. The guys from Peoples Gas wouldn't touch this repair. Instead, they locked off our gas meter and issued a ticket. This forces the landlord to get the pipes fixed pronto, which in this case means he's got a guy coming at 2:00 pm.

Until then, Ella and I are bundling up and huddling together for warmth. At least it's gotten up to 23 degrees today. That's better than it's been the past couple of days. Still, my fingers a bit on the stiff and freezy side.

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For the past few days, I've thought I might smell just a dash, just a soupçon, just one wafer-thin mint's worth of natural gas in the kitchen. I would sniff, and Laura would tell me I was crazy. It happens.

Last night I thought I smelled it, and this time Laura allowed as how she might smell it too. I didn't call ConEd immediately, having a vague memory of a similar situation in my Brooklyn apartment and being made to understand by the man who came to check it out that I had been kind of silly not to know this wasn't the dangerous kind of gas smell.

So I called up ConEd very late this morning, from work. In the voicemail treet, I deliberately did not choose the emergency options. I waited for a customer service representative. I said I might have smelled a little gas in my kitchen.

"What's your address, sir?"

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American fire drill

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I'd been smelling the smoke for a while and wondered vaguely what was burning. So had everyone else. We even talked about it, but no one knew what it was.

This was yesterday afternoon at the office. I'd been trying to catch up on some overdue LiveJournal comments, and I was exchanging a flurry of email with Eleanor as we tried to work out a place to meet for drinks that evening. Then my coworker Monjay poked her head around my cubicle wall and said, in her soft, unflappable voice, "There's a small fire on the first floor, and the other half of the floor is all evacuated."

I wasn't sure what to do with this information, and I'm not sure many of us were. We heard no fire alarm. Surely there was no danger.

Then my friend Geoff, our lead Muppet illustrator and creator of the wonderful caricature on the front page of Inhuman Swill, strolled by and drily said, "Hey, there's a fire in the building. I'm thinking we should all get outside."

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