Monday, August 25, 2008

Becky's Very Interesting Afternoon

I worked a typical shift today- early-morning to mid-day. Because we were reasonably busy, I felt completely drained after work. I decided to have lunch at Chili's, since I get a discount there (at least we have some employee perks). After a very filling salad, I tackled my twice-daily nemesis- driving the manual home. Ugh. I keep telling myself that I'm getting better, but after I've parked and I really consider the truth, I wonder if I'll EVER be able to drive this car the right way! On the way home today, for example, I stalled several times and almost hit two cars. In my defense, neither driver used a turn signal and therefore I found it hard to adjust my own maneuvers. Anyway, I feel really embarrassed every time I peel out. People keep telling me that it's normal, but I'm pretty used to picking new things up quickly. I'm going to mark the sixth month in my calendar; Kara told me to give it six months, to be fair to myself. At that point, I'll take a good look at my driving. Maybe I won't really have to; maybe then I'll already be good. I hope so!

When I finally got home, I made it to the third floor landing and the fire alarm started going off. Well, I know this is bad but I wasn't about to leave without my dog when I was nine steps away from my door and there was no smoke. (Don't worry, I felt my own door for heat, just in case.) So I grabbed the dog and her leash and hightailed it out of my building. No one seemed to be very interested in the fact that the alarms were going off, but all I was thinking of was making sure everything was okay, no one was hurt or in trouble. So I called Germany's version of 911- that's 112, in case you need to know- for the first time. What a surprise, the operator spoke almost no English. So I was able to convey the fact that a fire alarm was going off on a military base, and they transferred my call. Strangest emergency call in my life. The American dispatcher could see that the alarm was going in our building, so they sent a truck. During this time on the phone, I was walking Maggie around in the grass. Well, I came back to the front of my building, just in time I see two housing workers telling another girl that it was safe to enter, they were just testing the alarms. OH! MAYBE SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE POSTED THAT! So I could hear the fire truck's sirens blaring the entire way here. I was so embarrassed! I called emergency for an alarm test! Here is a photo of the scene from my apartment...

At least someone called! I mean, if it hadn't been a test after all and I'd just assumed, awful things could have happened! I felt silly and the Germans were all laughing at me, which was not unlike the time in Vienna that my roommate and I called the gas company to "fix the gas"... which was simply shut off at the valve. One firefighter told me "now you must pay big moneys! HAHA!" But when he saw the alarm on my face, he told me he was kidding. Whew!

Sometimes, when I have chaotic days, I look at nice photos and I feel better. Here's a new one. Take care!

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