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Fire And Rain October 25, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Mindfulness, People.

At Bridge one afternoon, the fire alarm in the Church Hall went off.  I looked up from my cards to assess the situation.

Inside:  No flames.  No smoke.  Exit doors just steps away.

Outside:  A torrential downpour.  A real gully washer.  Thunder. Lightning.


After raising inquisitive eyes toward the blinking alarm box on the wall of the hall, no one moved from their seats.  Everyone seemed content to “wait and see” what the rest of the players planned to do.

The alarm rang out for about 30 seconds, then went silent.

After it stopped blaring, we issued a collective shrug and returned to playing cards, sensing it was a “false alarm” triggered by the staccato lightning strikes that had punctuated our play all afternoon.

Five minutes later, three burly firefighters in full regalia burst into the room.

They seemed as surprised by our presence as we were by their arrival.  After all, it’s not every day you see a dozen card players playing cards.

Regaining their composure, they strode across the floor and went straight to work checking the alarm boxes.

Glancing at the huddled trio, I sensed palpable displeasure that we hadn’t evacuated the building at the sounding of the alarm.  Waves of disapproval emanated from them.  They couldn’t understand why we were inside playing cards rather than huddled outside dodging raindrops and lightning bolts.


Sure enough, as they turned to leave, one stopped to ask, “Did any of you hear the fire alarm go off?”

All nodded.  (Even those few who had left their hearing aids at home on their dressers.)

“And none of you exited the building?  You just kept playing cards?’

All nodded again.

Hearing no apology and sensing no sign of remorse, he turned from us in disgust and followed the other firefighters down the hall.

Figuring they had a handle on the situation, we returned our calm and concentrated attention to the cards in our hands.

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. Jill Weatherholt - October 25, 2016

There must have been some good hands in that group.

Kate Crimmins - October 25, 2016

I second that….or some good snacks on the nearby table!

nrhatch - October 25, 2016

It seemed safer to stay inside, steps away from the exit door, rather than going outside to dodge lightning bolts. I expect others felt the same.

@ Kate ~ of course there were snacks!

2. Tippy Gnu - October 25, 2016

You should have invited them to join your game.

nrhatch - October 25, 2016

If only there’d been 4 of them . . . for a full table!

3. Rainee - October 25, 2016

I remember once when I was working the fire alarm went off. I was just returning from lunch at the same time the firies were entering the building. I stood with them at the lift and read the notice “in case of fire, do not use lift.” We all stood there for a long moment and then decided maybe we should use the stairs. It turned out to be burnt toast from someone’s lunch that set the alarm off :-).

nrhatch - October 25, 2016

Ha! I bet you set a good example for the firies. Can’t blame them for wanting a lift given the weight of their gear!

4. Don - October 25, 2016

It’s one of the events or moments where I’m not sure whether to stand up, clap and salute you all, or to call you all a bunch of… As I thought of it I know I probably would have also gone on playing cards. :-

nrhatch - October 25, 2016

I don’t think we decided to “ignore” the fire alarm. It was more a “wait and see” approach to the situation.

We were in a large hall with 4 nearby exits, no smoke, no flames . . . and, outside, the day was wet and wild (not ideal for aging bridge players with dodgy hips and knees).

5. suzicate - October 25, 2016

Ha, they were probably more peeved they went out in the rain for a false alarm!

nrhatch - October 25, 2016

That might have had something to do with it . . . thinking if they got wet, we should have gotten wet too!

6. Tiny - October 25, 2016

Wait and see sometimes pays off 🙂

nrhatch - October 25, 2016

It did this time, for sure. Given the lightning punctuating the skies every few minutes, our best bet was on “false alarm.”

7. diannegray - October 25, 2016

I wouldn’t run out into that rain either. Playing cards during a storm sounds very cozy 😉

nrhatch - October 25, 2016

It seemed smarter to stay inside, steps away from the exit door, rather than racing outside to dodge lightning bolts. I expect the others felt the same.

And our “intuition” was correct. False alarm. All in all, a good call . . . and much cozier than getting soaked to the skin.

8. Joanne Sisco - October 25, 2016

By the time I reached … “All nodded. (Even those few who had left their hearing aids at home on their dressers.)” … I was laughing out loud.

Brilliant story. Obviously the firemen did not share your sense of logic 😀

nrhatch - October 25, 2016

Yay! Glad it tickled your funny bone chakra. I had fun writing it.

9. Val Boyko - October 25, 2016

Group mentality in inaction… I’m glad it wasn’t for real. “They couldn’t give up their hands and never saw what was coming. Thankfully the firemen reached them and pulled most of them out on time. Only one old lady didn’t make it because she wasn’t as mobile as the rest. The survivors never played an other hand.”

nrhatch - October 25, 2016

Me too, Val. I’m sure a real fire wouldn’t have elicited the same reaction, or inaction, from the group. But there was nothing to indicate F~I~R~E and lots of evidence to the contrary.

Perhaps we all heard the still silent voice within whisper, “Stay put.” 😉

10. Debra - October 26, 2016

What a funny scenario, Nancy. It amuses me that the firefighters didn’t try to scold, but conveyed their disapproval nonetheless. An alarm with no smoke or flames isn’t enough to move you away from an exciting game of Bridge! 🙂

nrhatch - October 26, 2016

Especially when the weather outside was so “precarious.” More people die of lightning strikes in Florida than most other places. It’s the lightning capital of the “world.” So definite danger OUTSIDE vs. maybe possibly danger inside.

I think we made the right call at the time to “wait and see.”

11. Under the Oaks - October 26, 2016

I think you were all adult enough to assess the situation and intuition is a voice to listen to.

nrhatch - October 26, 2016

I did tap into intuition long enough to ask whether there was any reason to evacuate. All I got back was a sense of C~A~L~M . . . so I figured we were fine where we were.

12. L. Marie - October 26, 2016

The fire fighters’ reaction is funny to me. They’re so affronted.

I lived in an apartment building where the fire alarm malfunctioned, and would go off at one in the morning regularly. After awhile, no one went outside when it went off.

nrhatch - October 27, 2016

I am so glad that it wasn’t a middle of the night alarm . . . I would have been too paranoid to go back to sleep.

Even though we didn’t exit the building, we were all on high alert.

13. Cecilia - October 26, 2016

What a story! But I totally feel with you. Sometimes decisions seem weird, but are alright.

nrhatch - October 27, 2016

That is exactly it! What might appear to some as the “wrong” decision based on their prior experiences might be the most right decision to make NOW.

14. Ally Bean - October 27, 2016

Gotta trust your gut when it comes to the unexpected. Plus if you’ve a winning hand, no need to risk losing just because of some faulty machine making a bunch of noise.

nrhatch - October 27, 2016

Agreed! My gut said stay put. No smoke. No fire.

15. Bun Karyudo - October 28, 2016

The firefighter’s tone reminds me of my wife’s when she learns that one or other of the children couldn’t quite muster the energy to get out of his chair and answer the ringing telephone.

nrhatch - October 28, 2016

Exactly! Disdain and disapproval in one quick glance.

16. Remaning Awake & Aware | Spirit Lights The Way - November 9, 2016

[…] recent post Shifting Allegiances caused me to re-visit the events described in Fire & Rain.  Doing so, helped me see why what we did . . . and did not do . . . made so much sense to me at […]

17. anotherday2paradise - November 9, 2016

Thanks for the smiles, Nancy. I wouldn’t have wanted to get my hair wet, either. 😀

nrhatch - November 9, 2016

Yes. At the time we were choosing between certain sogginess and possible, but unlikely, incineration.

anotherday2paradise - November 9, 2016

Difficult choice. 😅

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