There are few things more unnerving than having someone run in and yell at you while you’re taking a shower. It’s even worse if you can’t see them or hear what they’re saying. And so, when it happened I was dumbstruck; just stood there, water pouring over me, soap in mid-air. He left as quickly as he came, and all I think was: “Did he say fire?”

I ran out hurriedly, trailing water like a truck would exhaust. The change room was packed – guys were everywhere, shoveling their stuff into gym bags. “What’s up?” I asked. “There’s smoke all over – we gotta leave.”


I have to leave. I’m wearing a towel. Do I want to stand outside in a towel? It was a split-second decision. I bolted to my locker and started pulling things out. Boxers, boxers, where are my boxers . . . Aha! I grabbed them, put them on – and then the lights went out. Curses surrounded me (I added my own). I was now worse off – boxered, yes, but blind. I felt around, found my pants; was putting them on when a fireman walked in.

His radio crackled.

He spoke into it: “No visible flames, no visible flames.” Waved the flashlight around, its beam sparking along metal locker corners. “Let’s go people, let’s go!”

I ‘escaped’, with my life – and my pants.

Non Sequitur

From an AP wire titled “At least 22 dead, 132 hurt in soccer stampede”:

A reporter for Super Sport, a daily newspaper focusing on sports, said that a wall collapsed under the weight of the fans as they pushed toward the field. “We saw people falling. … Then there was panic and a stampede,” he said. Ivory Coast won the match 5-0.


There are non sequiturs, and then there’s this. I wonder what was going through the writer’s head.

The Call

S@SDM: “Mr. George?”

Me: “Yes . . .”

S@SDM: “This is Shoppers Drug Mart calling. The Photo Lab. Umm . . . I’m sorry to say that the rolls of film you left for processing, that three of those rolls were destroyed. A customer came in, and . . . well, he reuses his canisters, and I thought at first that the roll he gave was a little funky, but it looked like it was coming out OK, so I put it in. But when I came back from my break the machine was shaking, and . . . Unfortunately three of your rolls were in the machine too, and we couldn’t save those rolls.”

Me: . . .

I was stunned. I have precious little time to photograph, and to be told, to be told that 120 pictures of mine are just gone . . . And because of what? Because some guy was too cheap to buy new rolls, was too lazy to carefully refill a canister? Because the operator ignored a “funky” roll? I remember seeing kids playing in the street, their bikes tracing crazy figure-of-eights in the road outside my window. Thinking that there’s nothing that I can do; that I can’t vent my frustration at anyone – not the operator nor the incompetent film roller. That I have a 120 fewer pictures, that there’s nothing I can do.

Self-Portrait In A Mirror

2009/03/21 Self Portrait in a Mirror

Click image for a larger version


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  • For reasons I’m not sure that I can explain, this may well be the most fantastic post ever to appear on this hear blog.

    (I feel for the unfortunate things that happenned, but they make this post that much more fantastic).

  • One man’s plight is another man’s entertainment. Bravo, Allen, Bravo!

    I think most people would attempt to wear pants in the face of death.

    I wonder how many have been found dead with one pant leg on.

  • @ The Voice:
    Thanks Paul – I’d have to agree. It did feel like a particularly ‘curious’ week.

    @ Erik:
    So, you agree that I had my priorities straight? :) And . . . uhh . . . I’m not sure about how many have died like that; Google is no help this time.