All Fired Up

Have you ever had a day where you are trying to watch what you eat but you are also very hungry by the time 4:00 rolls around? I had one of those days yesterday and so I pulled out my very last envelope of fat-free microwave popcorn. How could I have possibly known that this would be the beginning of a dramatic sequence of events.

I stuck it in the microwave, punched in 3 minutes, and then walked away. It says right on the bag that you are not supposed to walk away from the popcorn while it is popping and now I know why: Upon my return, the air had that very particular burnt popcorn smell. I opened the microwave. The smell got stronger. Drat, my popcorn was burnt! BUT, I was still hungry so I opened the bag to see if any of it was salvageable.

This was my second mistake: A thick, foul-smelling cloud of smoke poured out of the bag. Unfortunately, I was also standing under the smoke detector in our office kitchen. It promptly started to go off. Lights were flashing, my whole office freaked out and one co-worker panicked about the sprinkler system. Or rather, as she very bluntly put it, "We're *ucked if that sprinkler system goes off!" Imagine a group of professionally dressed ladies frantically throwing open the windows, waving anything we could get our hands on to get the smoke out... in fear of sprinkler ruined computers and files...and then we remember that the fire department might be on their way!

Whew, a few rapidly placed phone calls to our building security people confirmed the false alarm status so no fire department. But wait, why do we still hear the blaring horns of fire trucks approaching? We collectively ran to one of the open windows and we see fire trucks racing towards us. "Hey, what's that smoke! Oh wow, it's a real fire!" The building across the street was really on fire and tons of smoke was visible! Unbelievable!

By this point, other offices on our floor are coming by, annoyed that they can smell the popcorn and annoyed by omnipresent smoke alarm sirens. We are sure that maintenance will be shutting off the alarms any moment now. But wait, the one maintenance person who knows how to shut it off has gone home! No one still at work knew how to shut it off!!! We stuck it out till 5:00 but finally, we couldn't take it anymore and left.

I brought my Oust spray in today with me to help alleviate the awful smell. My new nickname in the office...Firestarter.


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