Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Ed and I have been very fortunate over the years meeting and making friends with very interesting and talented people.  A few years ago, a friend of a friend relocated to our neighborhood in Dallas to take on a new position.  I’ll call him Amsterdam.  We quickly became friends with Amsterdam and have found he is extraordinary in planning social gatherings.  The first time we were invited to one of his soirees we met several fascinating people as he prepared a standing rib roast in the kitchen.  He was living in an older, mid-rise apartment several floors above the street.  As the evening progressed, the apartment began filling with smoke.  One of the characteristics of older mid and hi-rise buildings is that the kitchen exhaust fans are not vented to the outside.  Being well mannered guests we ignored the thickening cloud of standing rib roast smoke until it became difficult to see the guests sitting around us.  One man walked to the balcony and left the door open so the smoke had an escape route.  Since the kitchen was located near the apartment entrance, a helpful guest opened the front door of the apartment to give the smoke another escape route.  Living in a hi-rise ourselves, Ed and I know it is never a good idea to let smoke escape into common areas.  Within moments the fire alarm was blaring loudly throughout the entire building.  The next loud noise we heard was the arrival of the Dallas Fire Department.  Their response time was very good and, in just moments, there were four firemen at the door.  I’ve got to admit I was a little disappointed because, although they were nice, they did not meet the standards set by fireman calendars.  The last thing I remember hearing before withdrawing to the balcony was a discussion between one of the firemen and Amsterdam in the kitchen.  The fireman told Amsterdam to turn off the oven.  Amsterdam, although respectful, said:  “The roast isn’t finished yet.”  I remained on the balcony until the all clear was sounded, the firemen left and the alarms were silenced.  About thirty minutes later, we sat down to dinner.  The roast was delicious and certainly worth the drama.