Archive for Thursday, December 13, 2001

Never a dull moment

December 13, 2001

Sometimes it's nice to be a humble spectator in the background.

There are times when we get tossed from the throes of malaise and draw attention to ourselves. One such case happened a week ago at my home in Lawrence.

Living with three college students in a rented home has occasional moments of excitement and this particular night was no exception. We were all sitting lazily in the front room, discussing how tired we had been lately. After we learned we all were having reoccurring headaches, we suspected a greater problem. We had our central heating unit fixed earlier in the week, so we questioned if our ailments were from a gas leak. Instead of lighting a match, we decided to give the gas company a quick buzz and get the situation checked out.

The customer service representative asked a few questions and dispatched someone to our house to assess the situation. But, since there were no easily identifiable smells of natural gas in the house, she suggested we call 911, inform them there might be a possible carbon monoxide leak and request someone come to the house to check for a leak. I called 911, gave them the story and told them it was no big deal. We then sat down and continued viewing a rented movie and chowing down on homemade spaghetti.

Keep in mind, our house is the odd one in the bunch of our neighborhood collective. While most of our neighbors have either pets, children, were veterans of a World War or have white picket fences, we're not exactly like all the others. For example, I'm fairly sure we have the only house on the block with posters of rock icons for wallpaper in the front room as well as half a bookshelf converted into a bar.

Then it happened. As if we didn't stick out enough, we soon learned that when you call 911, even for what we considered a non-emergency situation, you get the works. In this case, the works included two fire trucks, an ambulance and a police car, all with lights and sirens on. (It was around 10:30 p.m., so I surmise they were just using this as an excuse to make some noise.)

First, the fire department forced us to wait outside, so there we stood, plates of spaghetti in hand as they checked for carbon monoxide. Then, a representative from the gas company showed up with all his toys for continued inspection. A funny thing, Mr. Gas Man looked a lot like Meatloaf. We asked him how many tests he had to run, hoping he had to run at least three after all, "two out of three ain't bad" sorry, bad joke.

In the end, we learned we're lazy and need to stock up on Aspirin. Our house checked out fine no gas leaks and no carbon monoxide danger. We received praise from both the fire department and the gas company for "being safer than sorry."

So, if you ever suspect there could be a problem with either a gas leak or anything else, don't be afraid to call and have it checked. Although, you might request the light- and siren-free service, if possible.

As for me, I'm still wondering why we had headaches and were chronically tired, although I think it might have something to do with my roommate's cherry surprise. What's in that stuff anyway?

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