Thursday, April 14, 2005

Fire? What fire?

One time I left the lab and noticed a horrible, loud, pulsing, buzzing noise. Terrible sound. I was willing to do anything necessary in order to stop hearing the sound. This, as it turned out, was a good thing, because the horrible sound was the fire alarm. The fire alarm which I did not hear while in the lab.

Being the thoughtful person that I am, I went back into the lab to tell people that the fire alarm was going off, and that we should leave. Eccentric Postdoc said, “No, it is a drill, I think.”

“I don’t think so,” I said. “I think they always tell us when it is a drill, and they didn’t this time.”

“No, there is no fire. It is a drill, I think. No fire,” she said. Because she was Eccentric Postdoc, she just kept repeating herself, very slowly. “Nooo, no fire. Just drill.”

“It might be a fire!” I said. “We don’t know. I don’t think it’s a drill. We should probably leave.”

“Nooo. It is a drill, I think. I do not want to leave. There is nooo fiiiire,” she kept saying.

“There might be!” I said again, and then gave up. I had done what I could to save her from a fiery doom. “Well, I’m leaving. I just thought you should know that the alarm is going off. You do what you want.” I left through The P.I.’s office, and told him on the way that the alarm was ringing, and that we should leave. He grunted at me and kept typing. I threw up my hands in exasperation and headed outside to avoid the possible raging fire.

Do you remember the horse in Animal Farm? The one who just kept repeating, “I will work harder!” until he dropped dead? Well, The P.I. and Eccentric Postdoc got off lucky that time, because there was no fire. But unless they adjust their “Must! Work!” attitudes, I don’t know. It’s a short trip to the glue factory. Me, I feel that the best plan of action when a fire alarm is ringing is to leave the building, even if you’re in the middle of a sentence in your grant proposal.

The story has a happy ending, though. I mean other than the happy news that there was no fire and no one died. I went down to see my old friends in Operations, and told them that we couldn’t hear the fire alarm while inside our lab. They were horrified and installed an alarm inside the lab that was so loud, there was no way we could ignore it and stay inside, even if there was noooo fiiiire.

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