If just before bed you get one of those odd, fleeting thoughts along the lines of “The fire alarm is going to ring,” pay attention.
Yep: At around 6:30 a.m. I was awakened by a shrieking siren. I’m glad I’ve learned to listen to those weird little flashes I get from time to time. When the shrieking started, I was ready to roll.
Even as I sat up I was pulling on my coat (right next to me in the little Bat Cave that is a pod bed). Fumbled for my glasses, snapped on my fanny pack and pulled my backpack out with me as I stood up, right into the shoes at the foot of the bed.
Grabbed my jeans (which held my house keys as well as $100 USD and about 35 GBP plus a pocket full of change) and stuffed them into the backpack. Stumbled four steps to the cupboard, which I’d left unlocked because I was the only person in here last night, and pulled out my suitcase and computer.
The computer went into the backpack and I was pulling the suitcase out the door with me, probably 60 seconds after I first woke up.
Baby, it’s cold outside
I had been sleeping in sweatpants and T-shirt, unlike some of the folks trudging down the fire stairs. I saw people in boxers and nothing else, people in shorts and camisoles and people in flannel PJ pants and undershirts. Relatively few of them were carrying anything. I guess they weren’t as paranoid-prepared as I was.
We waited in a fine drizzle. Luckily, I got a spot under the theater marquee next door. (Apparently “Grease” is still the word.) The fire department arrived and even I could see this wasn’t real: One firefighter went in.
After about 25 minutes we were allowed back inside. Apparently something had set off the fire alarm in the adjacent building – it wasn’t actually burning – and this one went off as a precaution. Or something like that.
So I missed an hour of sleep. At least it wasn’t a real fire, which would have been the worst wakeup call.
Now I’m going to get up off the floor (no desk here) and go on about my business. First I need to put some butter on the ciabatta rolls I bought last night and eat one of them for breakfast; the other two are my road snacks, along with an apple and some dried cherries).
Then I’ll put on my jeans, pull the sheets off the bed, leave my room key-card at the front desk and head out to the subway* to Victoria Coach Station.
Cardiff, here I come. Here’s hoping the Megabus is worth at least as much as I paid.
*Sorry, I just can’t call it “the tube.” Neither would I call television “the telly” or sausage with potatoes “bangers and mash.” I would if I lived here, but I don’t.