Well, I’ve found something new to worry about.
I wasn’t looking for something new to worry about, as I already have plenty of things to worry about, many of which I probably shouldn’t be worried about.
That’s because I have a gene for worrying, which I got from my parents, who worried about everything. My mother, who’s still alive, still does. My father died a few years ago and, if there’s an afterlife, you can bet he’s worried about it.
I know I worry too much, and that it causes me to stress out, which may be shortening my life.
I find that worrisome.
Anyway, as I said, I wasn’t looking for something new to worry about, but there it was, passing me at high speed on the road, sirens blaring.
I’m not worrying about fire trucks per se. It’s not like I’m fretful that I’m going to get hit by one. That gene is on my wife’s side of the family; an inordinate number of her ancestors have been hit by public vehicles.
It’s just that the passing fire trucks made me think about something I couldn’t remember seeing anywhere near my new house: fire hydrants.
I grew up in Queens and Brooklyn, and I lived in Manhattan as an adult, and it always seemed like there was a fire hydrant every couple of feet, especially if you were looking for a parking space. Even at our old Westchester condo townhouse, there was a hydrant within reasonable hose-distance, although, come to think of it, at certain times of the year you had to wade through swampy muck to get to it, and it looked kind of old and rusty, and there was every probability that it was just for show, like those buttons at street corners that make you feel like you actually have the power to stop traffic just so you can cross the street.**
Now I’m worried retroactively that our old house could have burned down.
There aren’t even any fake hydrants in our immediate vicinity now, so how is our local fire department going to put out the colossal conflagration that will be the result of one of the huge trees on our property that I’m worried will fall on the house falling instead on the very low-hanging wires protruding from our house that I’m worried about catching on our ladder as I carry it to the front door to clean the leaves out of the gutter so the water doesn’t back up and leak through the roof, which is something I’m worried about? This, of course, would somehow create a spark that would ignite the entire structure with a loud "Pffftttt!"
Okay, so here come the fire trucks. They get to our house in record speed, but there’s only room for one of them up our driveway, so the rest will have to operate from the bottom of the hill. Stamford’s bravest then unreel the hoses and…
…and there’s nowhere to plug them in!
I mean, if there aren’t any hydrants, where does the water come from to put out the fire that’s destroying our home, including our new kitchen? Do the firefighters emerge from the trucks each carrying a small fire extinguisher like the one we have in our hallway closet which won’t do us a spit of good when a bolt of lightning strikes one of the two Volkswagen-sized propane tanks that sit next to our house?***
Does the fire department have the means to connect their hoses directly to the well on each person’s property? That would be a huge problem for us because nobody seems to know where the well on our property is.
I didn’t want to ask anyone about this because I’m sure there’s some really obvious answer and I worry that I might sound stupid.^ So I went online, my source for things to worry about ("Mayans wrong! Apocalypse sooner than expected!"), and, to my great relief, I discovered on the very professionally-designed website of my local firehouse, the Long Ridge Fire Company, that it has fire trucks that drive around with up to a thousand gallons of water sloshing around inside. There’s even one truck–a 1985 Volvo, according to the website–that does nothing but carry water–2,000 gallons of it. It’s a rolling reservoir!
Of course, I would think that carrying all that water would slow down their response times. I know I’m a lot slower with four cups of coffee sloshing around inside me. And I’m not also carrying foam!^^
According to the website, they have a 1995 E-One Midship Pumper that carries "30 gallons of foam mix, capable of making 4000-5000 gallons of foam." So what do they do, toss the foam mix into the water truck and stir it around while my house burns down? ("Shame about that house, chief, but we’ve got 5,000 gallons of foam ready to go. Who needs a shave?")
Of course, I have no idea how much foam, or how many gallons of water, it takes to put out a fire. After all, it takes 1.6 gallons just to flush a toilet, and that’s one of the newer toilets that you have to flush two or three times to get everything to go away.
But at least I can rest easy knowing that the local firefolk are well-equipped and ready to put out the flame that erupts when the fumes from our septic tank spontaneously combust.
I’ll do what I can to help with the fire extinguisher in the closet.
*Hopefully, you’re not reading this in a crowded theater.
**You really didn’t think…oh, I’m so sorry!
***I worry about this.
^My wife might say that this is one of my few legitimate worries.
^^Unless I’ve been drinking cappuccinos.
For more on our adventures as first-time homeowners at age 57, and moving to Stamford, visit http://theupsizers.wordpress.com/