False alarm

The fire alarm in my dormitory went off about 30 minutes ago. I was leaving the kitchen to get back in my room, when I heard a constant wang-wang-wang sound from the hallway. It wasn’t loud enough (?) to cause me any panic. I stopped on my tracks for a couple of seconds to see if there’s a big fire somewhere or smoke in the kitchen. I thought I did something that triggered the alarm, but I am quite sure opening a can of tuna couldn’t create fire. I suspected it was the doing of the clogged sink filled with water I saw a while ago, doubting for a split second the truth that water puts out fire because of our ‘what is truth?’ discussion in class earlier.

As I entered my room, I had no idea what to salvage from the fire. My instincts dictated in a flurry to get my passport, wallet, cellphone, and laptop, while I was still holding a plateful of food. The only thing I grabbed was my watch, which I slipped through my wrist and clipped firmly, like how I do every morning, a final touch in my daily ritual before I set out for the day ahead. I peeped out of my room for a second, and saw other heads peeping out from their respective doors. I locked and unlocked my room to get a jacket, remembering the cold weather outside. Some have started to make their way out garbed in a bathrobe, some in sweaters, and others in top coats.

It was one rare occasion to see so many residents of my dormitory, some of whom with their late-night visitors. I swear I heard someone say ‘feier‘ (party) and not fire. Perhaps he was thinking of a feuer feier (fire party). I realized I was not dressed for the occasion when my feet, only protected by a pair of snowman-embroidered socks and flip-flops, started to get cold. The firemen and police came after five minutes, and after their room-searching and some of the students’ picture-taking, they traced the alarm was triggered from our dorm manager’s room, which was empty. There was a technical malfunction, they said. I think our dorm manager did something steamy earlier, but the heat of which were only detected now, like heating a cup of coffee or leftover gluehwein from last month’s revelry.

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