If you don’t know me, let me briefly tell you that I recently moved and am living in an extended-stay hotel for the time being. That’s me and my cat, in a one room efficiency on the second floor. Oh, and I can’t lift things nor walk or stand for very long. I have problems with my middle ear that regulates balance and my spine.
This morning, while I was still in my pajamas (I am a writer after all) the fire alarm went off. I dialed the front desk, wondering if it was a fluke, but she said the alarm went off all over and that we all had to evacuate.
Now, if you have ever been under a fire alarm in any public place you know how loud they can be. Now, picture yourself having a migraine or inner ear infection and standing right under it. That is how it was.
Luckily, my cat Gracie did not hide under the bed completely, her head was sticking out. First things first, I grabbed her and put her into the carrier. Then, I put cotton in my ears to dim some of the noise. Next, I grabbed my two purses, the one I keep for everyday use with the hotel key and my other purse with the spare key and stash of cash. Turned off the laptop (hey, it’s my bread and butter) and got dressed. Stuffed it in the bag with the adapter and tossed my cell phone with adaptor in the purse, and my flash drive that holds the work.
I should also say I have a neck brace that I have to wear whenever I want to carry something or pick up something that is about the weight of a grocery bag with average food. I do not wear it in public – I get enough stares with the cane - but vanity went out the window and I put it on.
Good enough, but still, how to get a fifteen pound metal carrier that now held an additional ten pound cat and myself down the stairs? Well, I was not going to leave Gracie so I just prayed for the strength. I exited, went down the two flights of stairs when I remembered I had left my cane in the room. I left Gracie by the door downstairs, went back up, got my cane, and went back down. All the while the shrill fire alarm in my ears, and by now the fire department had showed up.
I managed to get to the front desk and the lady told me I could leave the cat while I go outside, not even offering help with the carrier. Well, I was not leaving Gracie with the alarm going off in her sensitive ears, so struggled through the front doors of the hotel, with everyone staring at the lady with cotton in her ears wearing a skirt (can’t find my pants), a cane, a neck brace, three bags, and a cat.
The fire alarm was still going. I leaned up against the building, while a little girl came up to talk to Gracie. From there, a man slowly walked up to me and admired Gracie. He said he left his cat in the hotel room. He had a very guilty look on his face. I would say so, he probably took a look at me and wondered how the hell I had managed when he, a big strong, healthy male left his cat to possibly be burned to a crisp or die of smoke inhalation, or at the very least be terrified for life from the alarm. He went back in, but they would not let him go up.
From there, I saw another female who had two cats and we started talking. Who knew other people lived here with cats? One even had her terrified cat in her arms, without a carrier or leash, but at least she had the cat, unlike the male.
Finally they managed to shut off the alarm and gave clearance after about half an hour. This time, another lady (sans cat) offered her help to bring Gracie back up and I accepted gratefully. There were many capable men standing around I might add. We all parted way for the lady running past us with her cat clawing her to pieces and let her go first.
Firstly, thank you Glory and Tom for leaving me the carrier, you know who you are. Secondly, I managed yet another milestone on this journey to … where, I don’t know. Yet, I am grateful to still have everything that I do have.