Staff Writer Khushi Chhaya shares a harrowing experience.

During fire safety lectures there’s always that one person who hesitantly raises their hand: “this might be a stupid question, but what happens if I’m in the shower?”

Usually the inquiry is followed by a series of chuckles, sometimes even from the presenter. “There are no stupid questions,” they say. It wasn’t until last week that I realized how true this really is. 

It’s all fun and games until someone’s actually in the shower during a fire alarm. Unfortunately, last Thursday, that someone was me.

My post-PE shower was supposed to be relaxing. Well, as relaxing as a shower in the Sulzberger bathrooms can be.

I am currently living in what I like to call the “Quad Construction Extravaganza.” It brings a little more fun to the banging and drilling that I’ve endured for the last few weeks as leaks are fixed and walls are repaired.

With approximately half my hair brushed out, I heard a sound that I immediately assumed was a construction worker drilling on the other side of the shower wall. I thought nothing of it. After all, I had heard louder noises over the past few days.

For it being a fire alarm, let me be the first to say: it didn’t sound very alarm-like.

After a minute or so, the sound had not stopped, and I heard more voices and footsteps in the hallway than usual. There’s no way this is an actual fire alarm. I assessed my options: stay where I was, or leave the building mid-shower?

What if I just waited it out? What are the chances it’s just a drill? Was washing my hair worth the housing code violation? Wasn’t a shower technically the safest place to be with all the water that was around me? 

I seriously contemplated for much longer than I should have before I decided to leave. 

Maybe the worst part of all of this was the looks of pity I got from everyone in the hallway as I emerged from the bathroom in my robe. They all looked me up and down with sad faces, but underneath that I knew they were relieved they weren’t me right then. I wished I wasn’t me right then.

I awkwardly walked/jogged back to my room and threw on whatever clothes I could find in a semi-panic. My soaking wet, half-brushed hair instantly soaked through my shirt. I hurried down the two flights of stairs to join the group of students that had gathered outside the building. 

I was standing in wet clothes and flip-flops, shivering in the breeze, but at least I survived the fire, right? Wrong. Minutes later, we found out the entire thing was a drill and were given the all clear to head back inside. 

Frustrated is an understatement. I was upset as I made the journey back up the stairs. Thankfully, no one had taken my shower and I finished washing my hair in peace. 

I’m fairly certain I speak for most people when I say the shower is the last place you want to be during a fire alarm. Just my luck, I had this lovely experience in my first month on campus, and I already know it will haunt me for the rest of my Sulz shower days.

However, I did come away with this having learned a very important lesson: there are no stupid questions.

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