“SNARGL-ZZZZZT-WOLA-fragl-wozz-UP-YARISPLASH”-[ smack! ]

I keep my alarm set to the AM dial and in between stations because at high volume it is apparently the the only sound on the planet that induces fear and panic in every species that was carried on Noah’s arc (Scientific American, 24 May 2343 BC). Plus anything other than Exorcist-style AM static just gets incorporated into my dream. Which is why until I got my nice new radio-alarm clock I would dream I was a garbage man every morning (beep beep beep..), only to wake up and realize that not only was I not a garbage man, but I was late for work.

Mondays are AM Radio alarm days because Mondays are 8am meeting days. Under normal circumstances, scheduling a meeting for 8am on a Monday is sick and cruel. The detainees at Guantanamo don’t even have to attend Monday meetings until at least 9:30. But my manager is an ex-Marine, and a great guy, so I figure it is a good excuse to get up early enough to see what this morning thing people keep talking about is like.

This morning, however, my office building was on fire. It is 7:50 and the brow-sweat from walking up seven mile long Rosslyn escalator has just started to flow. I turn a corner and notice a strange number of fire trucks outside my building for 7:50 AM. Usually our building doesn’t burn down until at least 9:30. 7:50 is far too early for this to be a drill, and two woman standing across the street told me that this was the real deal.

And then I had one of those experiences in which you catch yourself in the middle of completely idiotic behavior rationalized by the attempt to make reality match your expectations – I started planning how I could break into the building.

See, I had a mission! Normally I show up at 8:10 and sheepishly slink in to the lab with a meeting already in progress. But it was only 7:50! Gloriously, I could stroll into the lab and take any chair I wanted, my self-centered feeling of victory to culminate rather anticlimactically with the words “Ted, could you dial into the conference call for us?”

Today is Monday! 8am meeting day! I must prevail! I didn’t see any smoke – a good sign. Firemen were blocking the main entrance but nowhere near the garage entrance to the building. Cars were flowing into it as usual. I could walk in through the Garage and figure out where the fabled car-owner elevators are and use those.

Oh, right, fire. I’ll have to take the stairs.

Wait.. Fire??! In the middle of an office-worker filled intersection, a dream sequence:

Fireman
[in full gear running down the stairs, carrying a rescued office-cat] Run! Get out! What are you doing! Me: It's OK, I'm going to be the first person into an 8am meeting! Fireman: But everything is on fire!
Me
.... [ awkward pause ]
*A stunt man from a movie comes running down the stairs on fire. Followed by three more cats and a giraffe.*

Yeah.. screw the meeting, I’m going to pick up some breakfast.

– Update –

Because several people asked: Yes, there were fire engines parked all over outside this morning and firemen preventing people from entering. But no, it can’t have been a big one. I didn’t even ever see smoke or flames, and only a few floors were evacuated.