So, I'm home this evening and the landlord calls me and asks me to turn on the boiler. It is wet and cold enough here for the first time this winter to fire it up. I do, there's a little smoke, so I call her back and ask her what to do about it.
She calls the Boiler people and they tell her that it's fine, it's just burning off dust that's accumulated over the warm months and all is well. She calls me back and relays that information to me. I do my evening zazen (meditation) and sit down in my reading chair (by an open window, by the way) and apparently fall asleep.
The next thing I know I am awakened by the doorbell and I can see there are people out front with flashlights shining them in my window. That's a little disconcerting. I get up, I still have my zazen robes on, and I answer the door and there's half a dozen of New York City's Bravest (the FDNY), fully suited up, tools in hand, and one of them smiles at me and says "How ya doin'?"
"Fine." I reply "What's up?"
"We got a call about an odor in the building we need to come check it out." is the friendly, but firmly authoritative reply.
"Gee, I hope it's not my cat box" I say, which is received with a round of warm laughter from the group. "We just turned on the boiler, that's probably it, I can smell it now, the cellar door is down the hall and to the left" I tell them as 6-8 big burly firemen file past me standing there in bare feet and zazen robes. I'm sure I looked like an out-to-pasture Jedi or something to them. They all have big crowbar-looking things in their hands and oxygen tanks on their backs. Now that I'm really waking up it's all starting to make sense. I can smell an odor of burning home fuel oil in the hall (which I never noticed inside my apartment.
When we flip on the lights in the basement you san see a thin layer of smoke on the ceiling. They shut down the boiler, tell me it's "backed up" and instruct me to call for service and not turn it back on until it gets some attention from a repairman.
I tell them I have a CO detector inside my apartment and it didn't go off, so the oldest among them, the guy they all called "boss," comes inside my apartment with a device in his hand and says "Yeah, the CO readings in here are 0. They're about 20 in the hall, which is still safe, but leave the outside door open for a while and let it all air out."
And with that they radioed an "All clear" to dispatch and collected their tools and filed out. I felt like apologizing to them because I was the one to turn on the boiler, but they were very nice and friendly about it.
So, that's my Friday night excitement. I was supposed to go out tonight but my date called and cancelled this afternoon. Gee, I would have missed all this.
I do have to say these guys really have an altruistic air about them. I was truly comforted by their presence. I can see why women get all hot and bothered by them.