All I wanted was chicken.
The phrase was stuck on repeat as I stood outside my flat, a faint but clearly noticeable buzzer echoing in the distance.
The cold London air had settled in, and the fire alarm had been howling for 40 minutes.
Oh come on, don’t blame me. Just because I’m a guy, and would consider myself an inexperienced, amateur chicken cooker does NOT mean it was my fault. Yes, the room was a little bit smoky. But I had a window open! Ok fine, the window was opened a little bit too late.
Damn it, it was my fault. You beat it out of me.
It was 5:30p.m., and I felt the urge to be independent. London is an expensive city, especially the meals. So whenever you choose to cook, it is always more cost effective. But when you choose to set off a fire alarm that refuses to stop, it is most definitely more cost effective to pay the extra three pounds to have someone else make your chicken for you.
I had a long day. I woke up early to site see in Notting Hill with two of the 10000000 girls on my trip. And no, I did not go to Notting Hill to see the blue door in whatever chick flick this town has been famed for, but to just get out and explore.
It was a very fun morning, completely fire alarmless.
Following Notting Hill, I had class from 2-5pm (see how productive I had already been while all you Americans were sleeping). After class, I headed to the market to purchase my 40-minute fire alarm meal (which is sitting in the sink right now).
Upon arriving in my apartment, I went through my normal fire alarm setting off ritual. I got out a pan, put it on the stove, put some olive oil in it, gently put the chicken in the pan, and counted down the seconds until the sweet melody of ear wrenching noise began.
“Success!,” I didn’t say, as I began cussing and running around my flat.
The first thing I did was turn off the stove and attempt to open up all of my windows. In one fluent motion, I jumped on top of my counter (you should have been there, it was awesome), unhooked the latches, and push up.
To my pleasant surprise, the windows only open three inches. As the smoke began to laugh at me for my failed attempt, I opened up my front door and sprinted across to a different flat (normally it’s about a six second walk, but I made it there in 1.7). Rachel Path and Jamie Hausman (two of the 1000000 girls) got me the maintenance number to call (I didn’t know it) and offered help during my ordeal.
Great right? Not so fast. I immediately spoke to a man on the phone that gave me very detailed instructions on how to turn off the alarm that had already deafened my entire flat and killed my half cooked chicken.
“Ahllo Brendan, this is whoyt you need ta do (strong accent, read accordingly). You owar goeing to go back into your flaht, and foind the foire baux that is on the wall upon your entry.”
I ran back to my apartment (2.1 seconds), and followed his instructions.
“On this baux thare is a buttin that says soilent (silent). Press this buttin and it will stawp.”
I pressed the button, and nothing happened.
“It’s not working!,” I screamed in the British man’s ear.
“Owar you pressing the button?” he Britishingly responded.
“Well, is thare a key insoid in the slot next to the soilence sign?”
“NO,” I Americanly screamed.
“Oh dear, I will send someone.”
Turns out, this situation could have been completely avoided if there was a key where there should have been a key. But no. As the blissful screeching pissed off my flat mates, I was told that a separate British man would be coming to help me out in 15 minutes.
Note: in London, 15 minutes means 40 minutes.
So, after an extremely enjoyable 40 minutes of standing outside my flat that vibrated with awful harmony and explaining to nearly 25 people that I just wanted chicken (which is not embarrassing), the man finally arrived and dismantled the atomic buzzer.
For those who are concerned, the flat maintenance guy told me that they have been searching for a key to put in the “foire baux,” so that situations like this are very short lived.
R.I.P. my chicken
I still ate, and managed to not set off the fire alarm when cutting the cucumber, peeling off the lid to the hummus, and SHOCKINGLY when toasting the pita (I know, it was risky).
Fire alarm- 1
Chicken and me- 0