The hall felt left out, I guess

Everyday Adventures

One of the first pictures I hung in my new apartment, after the newness wore off, was actually a set of five framed photographs I took in Birmingham–beautiful city, I prowled around there for a long weekend, completely on my own, frequently confused by the north and south streets that actually ran east and west. Anyway, I hung them in the hallway, it seemed like a good idea, and that’s where they’ve stayed.

I guess, since it’s been a while now, since I hung those pictures and with all of the updating the other rooms have been getting, I guess the hall was feeling left out. It needed to feel special, y’all, and really, with so little space to work with, it took matters into it’s own hands (?) and did the only thing it could think of:

It gave itself a chandelier.

Last night I had dozed off in the red chair as I was writing (doesn’t that speak highly of my novel? actually, it just speaks to my general tiredness combined with having milk-toast for dinner). When I woke up it was about 7:21pm and I had a crick in my neck. Luckily the laptop had not slid off and hit the floor, I was amazed. I got up, splashed water on my face and then went to the bedroom to change out of my work clothes and into jammies–in the process I flipped on the hall light, but neglected to turn it off as I passed it again.

A bit later I was checking my emails and hear this gawd-awful noise of clanks and bangs and look up just in time to see something moving in the hall light.

Having just traversed the length and breadth of my thousand-square-foot-apartment post-nap I figured it was very unlikely that someone was actually in the place with me, though I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve got ghosts! I crept over to the hallway and there it was. The light fixture (and I don’t mean the cover or the bulbs, I mean the whole kit and kaboodle, the housing that used to be flush with the ceiling, the ENTIRE aparatus) was hanging about a foot lower than it was born as. All that was holding it was the wiring coming down from the metal box thing embedded in the ceiling.

I think I just stood there, dumbfounded for a bit. How in the hell does something like this happen? The weird thing is, though I can see the insulation on the top (bottom?) of the fixture, I don’t really see how it was up there to begin with. I mean, there are no holes in the ceiling that I could see, and the fixture only has screws on the sides, not protruding up? I did think enough to flip off the light switch as I wondered just how heavy the fixture was and just how long the wiring would hold it, suspended, right at forehead-bonking level.

I checked the breaker box, thinking I could turn off the hall power, maybe, but all the switches in there are unlabeled. Drat. I could have methodically gone through each switch to see what stopped working, but the idea of messing with electrical currents was not to my liking at the time. I was officially out of my league.

I grabbed the green book from the antique desk, intent on calling maintenance, figuring that the threat of live wires snapping and possibly sparking and so forth counted as an emergency but the answering machine recording talked way too fast to catch the after hours number. I left a message when prompted, then called back to try and catch the number again. I got everything by the last number, which I thought was probably a 1. Nope. Tried a 7. Nope. I could  have tried the other 8 options but it was getting late and I didn’t want another 7 strangers angry with me.

I really wished I had a ladder, then. Not to do any work on the ceiling, but to put under the fixture to support it so it wouldn’t crash in the night. I also replaced the 9-volt in the smoke detector right next to the fixture, just in case, and when I went to bed I placed my cell phone on the bedside table and the fire extinguisher from the kitchen within arms reach of the bed, nozzle side facing the hallway.

I don’t know how many prayers I said, but my guardian angels decided I didn’t have to die in a fire last night. Whew!

I’m still not sure how it happened, or how they’re going to fix it when I call the office this morning to report the problem. Maybe the Frugal Fairy was angry because I forgot to turn off the light? I just hope the maintenance crew gets there before the gravity ghost finishes the job.

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