This is only a drill

Wednesday morning the fire alarm went off in our building so we all filed out on to a narrow stretch of sidewalk on Walnut Street, facing the Democratic headquarters and in front of a Kenneth Cole store.

A woman left the hair salon and crossed the street and to ask us, hunched over and in a tone of conspiracy, “so what’s going on?”

“…,” we responded.  “The fire alarm went off.”  She seemed a little disappointed.  And then another woman passing through told us that people were saying there’s a jumper.

And we responded that if there were a jumper, we probably wouldn’t be standing there in just underneath where he would jump from, now would we.

So then the alarm continued to go off throughout the day and the maintenance gentleman would come on the intercom, trying to say between alarm bleats that it was only a test.

“Dis”—bleat—”Disre”—bleat—”Disregar”—bleat—”Dis”—”Onl”—bleat—”Test”—bleat.

Not the most productive afternoon.

I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but something shifted with spring.  Not that we were a sour and gloomy office before, but there is a detectable lightening of the atmosphere in direct proportion to the lengthening light of the day.  Or maybe it’s just a shift in me, because I am so happy that it’s spring, even though that makes me think about how much time has passed since I first moved to Philadelphia and I don’t really like to think about time once it’s gone and there’s nothing I can do about all the things that didn’t happen during.

Like, I didn’t write a novel.  Not that I was planning to, but you know that would be something to look back on eight months of life and say, hey I never joined a gym or went on a date, but at least I wrote a novel. I didn’t join a gym.  So that’s eight months toward my life’s goal of one day doing a pull-up that is completely lost.  Also, I’ve yet to go on a date in Philadelphia.

Cristen and I were talking about this at Dirty Frank’s last night.  This is a bar that is widely described as a “dive,” but there are paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and the back wall is covered with mediocre oil paintings of flowers that have $450 price tags, which are things I do not associate with dives.  There is a dart board, though.  Anyway, Cristen is a proponent of the online personals, and besides my general dislike of the concept, I think that over the internet I would come off as scattered and distant, as the internet no longer holds my attention for more than 20 minutes at a time and I can barely be bothered to answer emails from people that I already care about.

The only downside of spring in Philadelphia is that it rains like fuck.  Right now I’m looking out the window above the front door—those have a name, what are they called?—and it looks like the sky is getting ready to shit all over us.

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