Maybe you call it intuition?
You know… that little tingle in the pit of your stomach… that something mysterious outside of normal perception?
I do, at least… I think it to be true. I hardly pay enough attention to it, to that part of myself that tries to warn me of something bad looming on the horizon, but I’m trying to learn to trust what my gut seems to sense, somehow.
Flaky and weird, yes, I know.
A most recent example… yesterday. Before the fire.
A routine home visit with a not so routine client of mine. Legally blind and bi-polar. She’s not particularly communicative. Odd, most people would say.
Thank heavens she wasn’t at home when the fire broke out.
This is, after all, the type of thing that would have my name in the paper, under an ugly large-type block headline.
We did paperwork and then I did my inspection of her apartment. There’s a whole laundry list of things I’m to check for. Safety is foremost, but there’s also cleanliness. Just two things stood out: her stove didn’t work properly; two burners were dirty enough that they wouldn’t light and she needed to do a better job of cleaning up the bird seed her pet parakeets were throwing everywhere. I made a note on my report and suggested that she clean the stove and vacuum her carpets better.
Almost on my way out the door, I backtracked to check the smoke detectors. They’re high on my list, but often overlooked unless they’re chirping away annoyingly with a spent battery. Her smoke detector (one, only) seemed okay, but I couldn’t test it properly, even with a broom, because it was detached from the ceiling, for whatever reason. I tried like hell… even stood on my tiptoes, but couldn’t get leverage on the thing.
Bugged me. That feeling, you know, the one in the pit of your stomach…
First thing this morning my intention was to call that landlord and get him out there to fix the darn stove and smoke detector…
Before I even sat down at my desk, the phone was ringing.
A detective from the AP police department. There had been a fire… paper was used to ignite a burner (and discarded carelessly in the trash.)
My client had wandered out to the store after cooking lunch without realizing there was a fire brewing in her trash bin.
A neighbor heard the smoke detector going off, though. Called the fire department.
My client’s ok. Her birds aren’t. My name won’t be in the paper, at least.
Check your smoke detectors! Every month!
Photos from Jasper Knob overlooking Ishpeming Michigan. For any of you rock-heads, Jasper Knob is a bald-topped hill composed entirely of jaspilite (banded hematite and jasper).