La Tierra del Fuego

I like shiny things. Therefore, I’m partial to the paper for which I worked this summer because it offered me scads of firey explosions. Ranging from minor to those fresh from the flaming bowels of gehenna, the sparks never ceased to fly. Ah, fondly do I recall a certain day’s loud, urgent “Warning, an emergency has been reported in the building” alerting me to sudden danger of smoky origin. The cause for alarm? Enter one hot-headed SUV lurching in front of and nearly in our building, spewing brimstone from its gas tank. As flames leapt into the foyer, employees did not flee; rather, they remained, entranced by this luminary spectacle. Nobody was in a hurry to save themselves from the glowing lava that threatened to effect a permanent cigarette break. Sure, the air-conditioning is always a little high in the office, but this was ridiculous. “Cool,” said Joe, our resident malcontent. From company picnics to free t-shirts, employee incentives couldn’t touch this guy, but give him an inferno and, reminded of summer camp, he is contented. Heading up the last exodus out of the emblazoned premise, Joe grins appreciatively. Outside, I can tell that some of my coworkers aren’t visual learners. These people don’t notice that anything is on fire and as a result, they are unaware that we are suddenly on a makeshift recess at an automobile’s expense. From one environment to the next, these people wear the same expression and seem wholly unable to distinguish between their computer screens and the screaming, naked child running away from his anxious would-be captors at the daycare center next door. “Yup,” one woman begins, gazing at and seemingly through the nude, miniature siren, “Guess I’ll have to call back that guy for another interview.” His Tiny Loudness eventually makes his way over to our fire-tainted swarm and runs right into the absent-minded reporter after which he bounces off and falls, wailing. His entourage scoops him up victoriously. “Yeah, I’ll definitely need to get some more quotes from that man,” the woman says. Now, our company is an equal opportunity lender, so our employees run the gamut. Some even have really funked up priorities. “Did you remember to bring the hummus out?” one woman asks me, concerned only with the refuge and thus availability of the rich Mediterranean condiment I made for work, a sandwich spread left to melt in the heat of the moment. Another woman then pipes in, “Yeah, did you rescue the lunch? That’s definitely the most important thing!” Boy howdy, Ma’am, that’s right-the most important thing. If the quiche I baked accidentally got reheated, the good lord knows, it could become overcooked. These women have good taste in food and culinary skill is not unimportant. One of our coworkers bypasses cuisine-oriented commentary and chooses instead to express his slight maladjustment by photographing the entire ordeal up close and personal. “Wow,” he commented afterward and whilst in front of our bosses, “The woman who owned the car did not seem pleased.” Out of earshot, he switched modes and chose instead a more casual, “S**t, that brood was wearing a tight tank top and had big bazooms. Oh, and she seemed pissed, too.” Clearly wracked with guilt, he made penance with the rationalization, “Whatever, I run the f*****g newspaper in this town. What does she expect? Besides, a brood dressed like that doesn’t actually mind the exposure.” Way to go, my good man. Now, back to your upcoming article on Title IX… In the end, we were outside for perhaps half an hour when one of the tires blew off the car and through the lobby out the back doors where we were all congregated. Somehow, everyone avoided injury, which is always great unless you’re a reporter looking for a photo-op. Moreover, as word travels fast in an industry such as print news, we soon found out that the woman and her trusty four-wheeled companion had been in line at the drive-through ATM provided by the bank that shares our building. The dynamic duo was waiting on queue to withdraw money to fix the slightly defunct fuel injection system buried in the vehicle’s flank when, spontaneously, the old, mobile girl combusted. Oh, well, some of the deceased Greek heroes didn’t enjoy such well-attended funeral pyres. So, although my summer was largely a composition of work and school, it was still red-hot. Of course, returning to B-town is key because I love to see all my friends and to run and to hike on familiar and beautiful turf, but Harris-Millis ain’t never done a fire alarm like Hometown Publications. But then, Hometown Publications never serves free pizza at floor meetings. I guess it’s a toss-up. However, both summer as well as UVM are VIP in my heart. Do you feel the same? Am I only dreaming? Is this burning an eternal flame?