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Friday March 09, 2001, 01:30

There are so many ways to begin, and none of them right, but I don't really outline all of the possibilities since I've done that in the past and the result was not so much what I was hoping for and besides it's so Been There that I might as well just hang out a sign reading "meta" for everyone to read, but that's really how my head is functioning now and I will use conjunctions if I want to and there's nothing that anyone can do to stop me.

What is the proper protocol in the situation where you realize that the fire trucks that are screaming down the street are actually stopping in front of your building? More to the point, what is the protocol for when you find out that they are not actually stopping in front of your building because your building is on fire but rather that they are doing so because there is the possibility that the building next to yours is on fire? In the case that you're building is on fire, you are supposed to feel the doorknob to see if it is warm. If it is, that means that there is a fire raging outside of your door and that you should try to get the fire fighters to rescue you. Maybe you should shove wet rags under the door to keep the smoke out. You should not go into the hall.

However, if the neighboring building is on fire, there are many options, none of them seeming to be correct. Considering the number of fire situations I've witnessed and the number of them that were actually fire-producing situations would lead me to believe that the actual evacuation of a neighboring building would be a poor idea and might even get in the way of the fighter fighting professionals (New York has a paid fire department, unlike many of the surrounding suburbs which have volunteer departments -- some of them completely so, as is the one in my home town) who are going about their business trying to save peoples' lives.

So leaving is not the right thing to do.

Nor is staying if you are the sort to get paranoid about the fact that the neighboring building actually abuts your building and that you are in the apartment directly adjoining the neighboring building, which puts you directly in the potential fire's path. Assuming that it burns sideways, which it probably would not, unless left to burn for an extended period of time, which is precisely what ladder truck of company 9 is there to avoid (along with the other companies on the block that I could not see from my window, not wanting to lean out as a spectator, preferring instead to stand in the window drinking milk from a university mug reading "recycle!" with a sort of indifference that people in this city are supposed to have).

Right, so this is really about me, and I stayed. Though I did shut off my computer in the event that I would have to make a hasty exit from the premises. Imagine that. The situation existed where the building in which I was residing could have been burned to the ground, and I considered the one move on my part, the one pertinent move would be to close my computer so that I could take it with me if the situation did escalate to that point. Indeed I believe that there are some skewed priorities there, what they are I could not say for sure.

An interesting end to what turned out to be a most pleasant day. Woke up to my phone ringing, my computer calling me to wake me up from the next room. My bedroom is windowless and the morning could be the afternoon for the light that enters around the corner from the living room. And vice versa. A full day's work, real work, and a walk home after left me calm and collected.

Some television was watched, an episode in which one character laments the lack of companionship in an otherwise paired town. And yesterday, my state of mind was such that this sort of programming would have hit home in such a way as to propel me over the edge of whatever sort of dramatic canyon I would have been standing over. But for the fact that this evening was not in any way yesterday and instead the program left me light and happy.

Reading, on the other hand, left me more longing for companionship, but not painfully so, and also placed in my head the existence of items known as words, the existence of which I'd forgotten until just recently. Regrettably, these words are not leading to the sort of inspiration I need to complete my assignment, but nevertheless, I am more compelled to take fingers to keyboard (as is the modern telling of the phrase "pen to paper", if that even is a phrase) and produce something of worth for others to read.

It has been too long, I discover (as my thoughts on fire safety degenerate once again into introspective ramblings about writing) since I have allowed words and sentences to fill my mind as much as variables and code have in recent weeks. Balance is what I returned to this city to seek, and have not yet found.

Fortunately, I plan on spending a lot of time discovering said balance.

Finally, I have been spending much time perusing craigslist (nyc) as of late. I seek community, or connection at the very least, and even find myself poring over the "women seeking men" section of the site, with nothing that particularly interests me. On the other hand, I have not been contributing to the site but for some occasional message board postings so am I really one to complain about the lack of activity and thus the lack of offerings?

Do I really even want to travel down the path of the meeting brought about through a personal ad? Would it matter that said ad was part of what was trying to grow into something of a net/real life community fusion, with crossover between communication on the Internet, through email and such and person-to-person meetings, in the flesh? Isn't that what I've always thought of? Virtual communities grounded in regional ones?

But still, the idea of answering a personal ad creeps me out, if only because I still base first impressions on looks. Be it shallow or not, it is the truth, and I do not think that I would be able to go out with somebody to whom I was not attracted. And I would most definitely not want to figure that part out upon reaching the meeting.

Though these fears may be ungrounded and some day I might actually venture forth into the land of new experiences.

Some day.

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