Big Girl Panties and Naked Escapes.

I've been hiding out in The Shire. You read that right, The Shire, as in The Hobbit. I'm in Wroxton, England at a writing residency, buckling down to work on"The Craft. Or at least I thought I was, but huge bus that I got on at Heathrow Airport could hardly make it down the narrow roads in the English Country side. The buildings have thatched roofs and low ceilings. I am staying in an Abbey, about 400 years old. They say its haunted, but thankfully I did not get the haunted room. That would have been all I could take, considering that the room I did get is in the very top of the castle.
It has been raining since we arrived, and for a naturilized Texan like me, its bone chilling cold. I dragged my too big lugagge from underneath the bus and discovered my dilemma. I was four stories up and there was no escalator, no elevator, no bellman and no room service, and hot water is iffy.
I guess you could say I was going to be roughing it.
And then I discovered another surprise. My room is the fire escape room. That is, in case of emergency, when you break the glass, you get a key to my room. Turns out the fire escape is outside my window.
I had to attend a require briefing on safety, learn about British fire cards and evacuation standards. They told us we wouldn't be here long enough for there to be a drill.
After Two nights of cold water, I figure out that you have to sleep in if you want a hot shower. The heat doesn't turn on until 6 am or so. I get into the shower, grateful that its finally hot. I mean, for two days I have been turning on the icy water and selectively sticking body parts into the stream, then quickly removing and drying them so I could be sufficiently clean.
I'm singing in the shower, thankful for the warmth of the water as it chases away the nighttime chill.
I hear this sound and couldnt place it. Thought the pipes were screeching. And then it hit me. That wasn't screeching pipes It was the fire alwarm. I'd already been told there would be no drill.
This was a problem. Everyone would be at my door in two seconds as they tried to save their own lives. And if I didn't open the door, they would be breaking their way in.
And I was buck naked.
Buck naked and dripping wet.
Do I have to say it? Lord, Ha'Mercy Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha.
I grabbed a towel and then grabbed the nearest piece of clothing that made the most sense.
My coat. Thank goodness I decided to bring a virtually unused three quarter length shearling coat. I opened the door and peered down the hallway. I know they tell you not to do that, but I couldn;t hear anyone. I banged on the doorway of the two folks across the hall. What if they slept through the fire? I would be plagued by survivors guilt the rest of my days and I didn't know these people well enough for that.
There was smoke in the hall.
If I was wearing underwear I would have wet it.
I dashed back into my room and sat on the bed to pull on my boots.
I screamed. The guy from across the hall was standing in my room. He looked dazed but he didn't speak, just barreled through and jumped out onto the fire escape.
This isn't a neat fire esape like the ones on TV. It is basically a ladder attached to the buidling that went down four whole stories.
There was no time to be scared.
I did the next logical thing.
I grabbed my watch and put it on. I couldn't carry anything. And no, I don't no why I didn't grab my passport.
He looked over his shoulder and I had another epiphany.
He would be under me and it was clear from the way the wind was whipping around my chibs that I'd overlooked some very basic things. Undergarments. Pants.
I gave him the best stink eye I could muster. 'Don't you dare look up," I growled.
We made it down, and I'm not sure if he looked up.
It's been a few days and I haven't seen him.
Best I could guess, he vanished.
Hmm. Maybe he did look up and I poofed him into another universe.
Or he went blind.
Or he was so traumatized he can't come out of his room.
I learned soemthing from the experience.
First, I can carry things in my teeth. I could have used my mouth to carry my passport. But then I wouldn't have been able to squawk threatening insults during my descent.
I also learned that the choice of the watch wasn't a bad one. If everyhting had burned up, I could have sold it and bought some clothes.
The big takeaway is very simple, though. Remember when your mother used to tell you to where good underwear so that if something happens, the people that save you won't thing badly of you? Its simpler than that.
It doesn't matter if your underwear has holes in it if you don't have any on.
My escape gave new meaning to one of my favorite sayings, Put on your big girl panties and suck it up.
Before I suck anything up, I have to remember to put the big girl panties on in the first place.


Anonymous said…
2 Funny!

Glad to hear you made it through okay. I must say that I am a bit surprised. You strike me as the type who would invest just as substantially on your first layer as you would on your last. I'm sure your great watch is accompanied by great underwear and you would ensure that you escaped with both on you...

But in life and death situations, one must prioritize and it's far more moral to sell the watch than it is to sell the panties.

Joel McIver said…
LOL. You are too much!!! But I'm not even gonna lie, there is no way I wouldn't have looked up. I'm sorry but that kind of opportunity comes along just once in a life time.
Joel McIver said…
LOL. You are too much!!! I'm sorry but I would have looked up. That's an opportunity that comes along just once in a life time.

All of a sudden the UK has moved up on my list of places to visit.
Rich in the STL said…
I'm with Joel. I would have gotten an eyeful. Talk about eye candy, mmm hmmm.

Aside from that, it may have been scary at first, but what a great adventure. Normally you only get to read about stuff like that.

I've never read your work, but now I'm getting sucked in. Glad I stumbled up on you.

Nothing happens by accident.

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