‘Whew! What a day, Paris on foot. It’s now time to relax. So, off with my gear, my shoes, my bras and my old faithful trousers that I’ve worn every day, and into my soft blue and black flannelette pyjama pants. Wow, that feels great. Now, for my top, ah, my green ‘Mustang Sally’ singlet, thin and well-worn, yep, that’s just the thing. Yep, feels wonderful.
Suddenly, Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Oh my God, what’s that? The sound was deafening. Hell it’s the fire alarm. What am I going to do? What am I going to take? I know my money belt. What else? —oh I’ve got no shoes on—got to take my shoes. Got to get out of here now but I can’t go out like this! What do I do? What will I take? I know my shoes and my money belt and get out of here.
Out of the room I went, post haste carrying my shoes and money belt. Four sets of stairs to get down. Hurry, hurry, I looked behind me and there was my partner sporting nothing more than boxer shorts, sandshoes and wearing a cap and holding his driver’s licence. People started peeping out of doors, half naked, looking worried and uncertain as to what to do. Down the ancient stairs we raced then on the last set of stairs, we heard, “False Alarm, False Alarm,”
A dark fat man was waving his arms feverishly and yelling out, “False Alarm, False Alarm.”
‘Phew, thank God.’ We turned around relieved and started going back upstairs, me in my flannelette pyjama pants, singlet and bare feet and my partner in his boxer shorts, sandshoes and cap and hold his driver’s licence. On the first landing a mother stood holding her baby close to her chest, her face tense with fear. A half-naked man was leaning out of the next door, seemingly frozen. “False Alarm,” we heralded as we made our way back to the fourth floor passing a rather interesting array of skimpy and half-clad attire.
I’d often wondered what I’d do if a fire alarm went off and now I know. Frightening and exciting as this experience was I learnt two things from it. I know now how I’d react if a fire alarm went off and I found out that behind closed doors of an evening, at least in hotels, people dress very similar to us.