Not a closeup, but I love how the winter light brings out the reds in this robin singing on West 43rd Street.
Sunday night I was watching one of the Great British Baking Show
's holiday specials and reveling in the blessed inactivity of it all when my smoke detector suddenly went off.
Well, that was strange, but I wasn't actually worried until I walked out into my living room and heard that the smoke detectors in the other two apartments on my floor were also going off. I opened the front door and didn't see or smell anything, but heard additional alarms going off, an entire infernal chorus of them. Maybe it wasn't smoke, it was carbon monoxide? Okay, now I was a little worried, and I opened the windows all the way. None of my neighbors were home, and I was looking for the super's number on my phone when I happened to glance back towards the kitchen and saw smoke coming in under my apartment door.
Obviously, I survived, as did the building. There was no serious damage done—it turned out there wasn't actually a fire—but the twenty minutes I spent sitting on the fire escape waiting for the all clear seemed to sum up so much about this second pandemic year: I was alone, in the dark, listening to the sirens converging on my block but unable to see anything because my apartment faces the back, having no idea how much I should be panicking. And it all ended with an extra large large dollop of sheer stupidity with a dash of malice when the “fire” turned out to be the result of having our lobby fire extinguisher emptied by a gang of teenagers who rang all the doorbells until some idiot buzzed them in.
I am of course hugely grateful that it wasn't worse, but I hope that's the end of the drama for this year; I'd love a few weeks of utter boredom.