Hotel Michelle
  So it turns out that Smokey the Bear knows a thing or two There isn't anything out there in the entire world that scares me more
than Fire. I am completely scared of fire. In an obsessive way where
I check to make sure that all of the burners on the stove are off at
least four times before I feel OK walking out the door, but it
presents itself in other ways too. The sound of a match lighting or
the grill turning on makes my stomach jump and the shadow of a
flickering flame makes my heart beat faster. See? Just writing about
it, now I've started to wonder whether I blew that candle out earlier
today and I am now seriously going to check�.

Ok, back. So, bottomline: I'm afraid of fire. It's not the sort of
thing where I have to think real hard to try and figure out where I
got the fear from. It's a recent thing. In oh let's see, when was
it�.March? I met up with my cousin and there's not a whole lot to do
in Utah see, so we wound up with forty-or-so other BYU students at
this mine-shaft thing. It's this huge hole, so deep that the bottom
is out of sight. As a matter of fact, if you drop a flaming gallon of
gasoline down the grate that is above this hole (think big, bigger
than the room that I am in right now, big�huge) it will explode and
send flames up through the grate sometimes singeing the hair of the
legs of whoever is standing above the shaft. That was what was going
on there that night. It also makes the earth rumble and sends
debris flying and offers quite the display to all of the poor
middle-class-or-above-daddy-paid-for-college bunch of them. Not
saying that every young-twenty-something college student who is
causing mischief in the middle of nowhere late at night just for fun
is a misdirected ingrate with nothing better to do and no sense of
appreciation for life. But on that night, I was quite annoyed to find
that I was surrounded by a rather large group of annoying people.

So I stood off to the side, until my cousin had the bright idea to try
dropping more than one gallon at a time. He dropped ten.
Ten.flaming.gallons.of.gasoline. Which then exploded immediately
sending a tower of flames into the air along with his body. That
sound: Boom!, and then the sight of my cousin lifted into the air is a
part of that hall of fame in my memory, the place where unforgettable
images go. The blast was so enormous that it sent large pieces of wood
and garbage in every direction, the force hit my body in less than a
second and I ran for cover with the earth shaking under my feet. It
took me two and half seconds to realize the worse cast scenario: those
flames were so huge, my cousin could be hurt, he could be dead. His
body looked like a rag doll in the air, I turned around right then and
he was no where to be seen. Debris was
falling from the air like snow. I started to say, "Where is my
cousin?" And I heard people shouting, "That was Ace in the fire." And
"He's hurt!" So I ran around the grate and found him in the shrubs. I
couldn't see him that well because it was so dark, but since I full
expected to find him dead I was relieved to see him stand up and say,
"Take my picture, Put it on the Internet." His hair was standing
straight up, just like a cartoon. It was kind of funny actually, he
was totally dazed, saying completely stupid things and not even
realizing that I was standing beside him. I looked closer though, and
saw that his face looked a little bit burned and I asked him if it
hurt. After a few minutes of kind of wandering he started to say that
it did hurt and then he started to say that it hurt everywhere. So
like an annoying cousin that you would not want to have along on a
night like this, I insisted that we go to the Emergency Room at least
to get checked out. We were an hour south of home, so I'm glad that
we left then because within a few minutes he started to talk about how
excruciating the pain was. He stuck his legs out the window for cool
air and started to shake. When I saw him in the light at the ER I saw
that he was indeed burned, especially on his legs but even then I
could.not.stop.laughing. His hair was standing straight up and his
eyebrows were all kinds of ugly. He kept asking me to take his
picture so finally I drove home and got my camera and came back and
took this.

Scary, huh? And we shan't forget the Apartment Fire of Oh Four. I
can't remember if it was before or after the Ace-thing but it was
equally frightening. In my pre-South Beach Diet days when I ate both
carbohydrates and fried foods frequently, I was thinking I would make
some donuts. You know, on the stove, so I left some oil to heat while
I went to change. Except there's this thing, I'm very easily
distracted and I forget things all of the time. So when I came back
from my room a little bit later, I couldn't figure out why there was
smoke coming from the kitchen. I started to try and remember if I was
boiling something, water or something and then it hit me and right
then is where I lost complete control.

�Oil! On the Stove! There's smoke! It's probably�BURNING!!! And it
most certainly was. I turned the corner and there they were, these
hellish flames. The very site of them turned me into a complete
idiot, just exactly what they tell you not to do when there's a fire.
Remain calm, right? Not I. I yelled for my roommate who was so into
her paper that she hadn't a clue what was going on. She told me later
that at the moment she thought to herself, "Just let me finish this
one sentence�" She came out and then I went running, for the
extinguisher in the hall. The last thing that I saw on my way out the
door was my roommate, standing there with the carpet burning around
her. And then there was no little hammer to break the glass with so I
ran to the neighbors across the hall and caused quite the stir after I
grabbed a roll of masking tape and smashed the little case. The glass
shattered around my hand and I grabbed the extinguisher, which I then
realized I had no idea how to use. It was a mess. Anyway, when the
fire was finally put out, my roommate and I laughed like morons for an
entire hour. We cancelled out of our obligations for the next little
while and did what damage control we could. And then we stepped
around the burns in the carpet for the rest of the semester.

like Satan himself had walked through our living area. I have to admit
that in the re-telling of the story it sounds bigger than it actually
was because that's how I remember it, and I've omitted the details
that make me look like a big idiot because this is my website and I
can lie if I want to. But still the truth is, no one wants to see
these sorts of things. Maybe on a T.V. show but never in real life
and even then these are the sorts of things that you think to yourself
might happen to other people, but never ever to me?

I really didn't mean for this whole explanation to go so long, what
I'm really trying to get to is this. Today, I was reading my e-mail
when I heard the loudest lightening ever. It sounded like a gun-shot,
"BANG!". It echoed in my ears it was that loud, and the dog ran and
hid under my legs but I thought nothing of it because there are
thunder storms in Florida twice daily and it's totally normal. A few
minutes later, though the doorbell rang and the girl outside told me
to call 9-1-1 because there was a tree on fire right outside of my
house. As I was turning around I was thinking, small tree, small
fire, okeedokee, whatever, thankyouverymuch for stopping on by, but
the rain will probably put it out anyway and then I felt like a big
fat oblivious idiot because outside of the window right next to where
I was sitting there was this thick black smoke and bright orange
flames burning even through the pouring rain. So I took her advice
and called 9-1-1. They said, "Mam, if your home catches on fire, then
I would advise you to evacuate immediately," which I thought was sort
of funny for a split second right before I started to envision the
house and all of the neighbor's houses burning right down to the
ground and then this whole huge fire of catastrophic proportions
leaving us all without even a thing. And then I called the guard to
say that there was a fire in the backyard and when he picked up I was
all, "Hi, this is Michelle�" and the guard was like this, "Michelle,
I'm going to have to call you back there is a fire." And I was like,
listen here, you overly-excitable-under-experienced-guard-guy, I have
the whole thing under control I was just letting you know. Because
truthfully, I'm like, an expert in what-to-do-in-case-of-a-fire now.
Who else do you know who has seen fires that really, really burned
things within such a short amount of time? And then two big fire
trucks came and the firemen told me to stay inside because of the
lightening so I did. And they put the fire out and left but not
before giving me some fun safety tips. The highlight was really when
the one yelled to the other, "Take cover!" I just loved that. Take
cover? From what? I don't know, it just sounded so serious like they
were fighting the fire of '88 in Yellowstone or something� Holy
Smokes! I just realized something. An epiphany. Who can recall the
fire of '88 off of the top of their head like that?? Only a woman
like myself who was but a 4 year old at the time and what? Vacationing
in Yellowstone where my family's homes were nearly burnt along with
every else. I am not making this up for your amusement. I really
just now realized that I witnessed that and there really was something
in my childhood to account for my neurotic fear of fire. I vacationed
in Yellowstone every single summer and played in streams and fields
surrounded by dead, black, tree trunks where a forest once was. I
watched that fire burn and it changed the landscape forever, right up
to the trees that surrounded our homes. Wow, look at that: a genuine
"Aha! Moment" as they say, that's really something�

Anyway, 2,000 words later, the moral of the story: Never play with
fire. Don't leave the stove burning unattended. Lightning is
dangerous. And, Only you can prevent forest fires.

Whoa, that was really long.
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Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

I spend excessive, unhealthy amounts of time online. Usually I'm reading blogs, sometimes I'm working on my website, if I’m not doing that, I'll look up random stuff and decide that I'm educating myself about current events. When I was growing up I thought that People Magazine was the news because my Mom read it all.the.time. I say inappropriate things in public. I'm almost always wearing the same things. I have a lot of clothes, but there are like 5 things that I always wear. I went to school, never graduated and I don't think that I will. Not from there, anyway. But I do want to finish a degree somewhere. I love hotels. I really just want to wrap up all of the school stuff so that I can own my own hotels. Michelle's hotels. Doesn't that sound pretty? Except I wouldn't call them that. I don't know what I would call them. I love so much music. It makes no sense how I can get down to such a wide and odd variety. I am talking from Wilson Phillips to Petey Pablo. It's because I didn't really start listening to music besides church music till later in life so it's all just like WOW, so fascinating to me. Maybe, I don't know, I tend to overanalyze.

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