Burning down the house

Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

1. Wallet

I’ve had some hassle with the bank in the past over such insignificant things as Royal Mail failing to deliver a letter to the correct address. I can only imagine, therefore, the bother it would cause to lose all your cards and paperwork to a fire, and then try to find proof of address for a place that’s burned down. Also, I guess I’d want to buy some food and pay for shelter somewhere.

2. Memory stick

All the stuff I’ve created in the last however many years is backed up in a few places, but the most portable would be the only one I’d bother about in a fire. I would have to re-learn a lot of things if I didn’t have a record of how I made them the first time. It would be the most potentially useful thing for the long term that I could take with me.

3. Bike

As it happens, I’ve not been on my bike much recently. But it is still my single luxury possession, the only thing I know I can live without but would feel seriously impoverished not to have it. It represents so much for me: freedom, a connection to the outdoors, physical activity, leisure, hard work, tinkering, grubby hands, and a lot more.

4. Coat

Whenever there’s a fire on the TV, people huddle outside on the pavement flanked by paramedics, mummified in giant red blankets from the back of ambulances. They look like victims. If my home was on fire, I’d want to stand in defiance at the fire. My home is burning, OK, but I’m safe and I’ve got my wallet and memory stick and bike with me. What’s next? I would only be able to think and act like that if I had a coat on.

5. Shoes

Ditto the stuff about the coat. Also, it’s a nightmare finding shoes that fit and look OK and are comfortable. I’d rather not have to go shoe shopping, so I’d try to rescue a pair from the fire if I had the time.

London, N7
Posted on 30/01/2014  •  361 words