That’s one of the favorite hypothetical questions of minimalist bloggers, don’t you find? What, amongst your hundreds or even thousands of possessions, would you actually save in a fire? Well, when two policemen pounded on our door at 4.30 am on Tuesday and told us to immediately evacuate our home all I could manage was to put on my coat and boots, grab The Poodle under my arm, and get the fuck out of there. It wasn’t our building that was on fire but one of the neighboring ones, but seeing as we live in one of the oldest areas of town where several hundred-plus-year-old wooden buildings stand wall-to-wall they weren’t taking any chances. By 5 in the morning more than 70 people were standing outside on the street, watching the fire and wondering whether we would have a home to return to by evening. I hadn’t even managed to grab my phone on the way out.
Thankfully The Boyfriend had his phone and I managed to contact both my mom and my sister. I tried to contact my colleagues to let them know I was okay, but I didn’t know their numbers from memory and many of them were unlisted so I couldn’t look them up. Note to self: memorize the number of our reception desk for the next time I’m suddenly evacuated in my pajamas. I finally managed to reach a friend on Twitter, but by that time several hours had already passed. In the end we were unharmed, and so was our building. Everything turned out fine, and we got to return home nearly 7 hours after being evacuated.
Anyway, as I stood there and watched the firefighters put out the fire I ran through the following mental checklist:
- The Boyfriend and The Poodle are safe: check.
- Photos on Flickr: check.
- Files in the cloud: check.
- Insurance in order: check.
So what would I save?
And that was it. I didn’t manage to bring a single physical object with me out the door, and I didn’t care. Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t care if our house burned down – that would be ridiculous, not to say horribly offensive to the poor people whose building was actually destroyed. I would be devastated and heartbroken, and I can’t even imagine what they are going through. But in that moment I was just relieved to be right where I was with my loved ones nearby. Couches and TVs and clothes can be re-purchased. Boyfriends and pets? Not so much.
(That said, you better be damn sure I’m documenting all my belongings for insurance purposes as soon as I can, because next time we might not be as lucky)
So that was my week: a fire scare that very nearly made me put my money where my minimalist-loving mouth is, and a reminder to never own anything that you wouldn’t be willing to leave behind at a moment’s notice at four o’clock in the morning. And to always have your insurance, smoke detectors and fire escapes in order.