Karin's Charivari

We were slow to respond to the five a.m. evacuation orders. Hotel sirens blurted and a voice ordered visitors to walk, not ride elevators, down to the first floor.  I crawled out of bed and circled the hotel room—are you putting on pants? I asked Darrin and he mumbled some response. We picked up and set back down books and bits of paper and empty water bottles—as if the emergency might be hiding beneath a key card.

It was perfect really, my first hotel evacuation on this weekend trip to Portland, the alternative universe soon to be our home.

I flew first class not because I paid, but because Darrin flies a hundred thousand miles a year and gets tickets and upgrades for free. The 737 was old with yellowing vinyl and no-smoking indicator lights like hieroglyphics—had we ever smoked at this oxygen rich altitude? The seats were spacious and…

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