Episode Seven: Bruno and Alice: A Love Story in Twelve Parts About Seniors and Safety – Out of our senses

I think it was in February. The temperature was minus-a-million Celsius (even colder in Fahrenheit) and Alice, the woman I had been seeing for a few months, was over at my place for the evening. I put on some coffee and joined Alice in the den. We had just watched a film—some depressing thing from Europe that she loved—and were chatting about whether movies were more art or industry when the wind outside really began to howl.

When it came time for her to go, Alice looked outside and winced. She was afraid to go out in case she slipped and fell. So she asked if she could spend the night... on the couch of course.

Well, why not? I have plenty of spare rooms. No one was waiting for her at her place. It was only right that she stay. But I'll tell you, it certainly put a different complexion on the evening. I felt like a teenager. Frankly, I couldn't tell how much of Alice's wanting to stay over was actually the weather. I loved her like crazy, and was sure that whatever happened next would be the right thing. Boy, was I wrong!

I was upstairs showing Alice to her room when the alarm went off—a piercing howl that scared us both half to death. I figured it was an air raid, but Alice knew better. "It's the smoke alarm" she shouted.

In my place the smoke alarm is wired to the security system and, within moments, the fire department had arrived. They knew what the problem was right away, and headed for the kitchen. It was the coffee maker. I had turned the thing on but forgotten to put the pot in.

The coffee had poured out onto the element and had fried, sizzled and smoked until it set off the smoke detector. It wasn't a fire; it was a big stink.

There in the kitchen, we could smell it plain as anything but, to our surprise, neither Alice nor I had been able to smell it before. We were both forced to admit that relying on our senses is no guarantee of safety.


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