Kid number two and I went fire chasing last night. We’d had an early dinner at our favorite burger joint, so it was not even 6:00 when we came out of the restaurant to see pillars of black smoke in the sky.
“Maybe we should follow the smoke,” I say although my mind was already half immersed in a honeysuckle bubble bath and an early pajama time.
“Maybe we should,” he says. “Like a mother/son adventure.” Who am I to stymie a mother/son adventure? So we follow the smoke. It was farther away than I had realized, and it took some driving around to locate the industrial building in the middle of town that was burning. Not to be dissuaded by road blocks, we cut through a gas station and parked unobtrusively across the street.
“Just say we’re press, if anyone asks,” I tell him.
It was a large metal building that I was later told was used for making ATV parts. I’m not sure what was in there that was burning, but something was shooting flames high up into the air. While there were multiple emergency vehicles on site, one lonely firefighter stood atop a ladder and directed a spray of water into the heart of the fire. Everyone else was supervising.
“That actually looks pretty dangerous,” I say. “That poor guy up there covered in black smoke. How can he breathe?”
“I’m sure he has an oxygen tank, Momma,” said my child, trying not very hard to keep the scorn from his voice.
“He’s been up there forever.” I say. “So much water, and the fire is still going. You’d think there’d be water flowing down the street by now.”
This time he sighed audibly. “The water evaporates, you know. Because there is a fire in there. ”
“Right,” I say. Fourteen years of fascination of things that burn have obviously prepared him for this conversation. It seems to be a boy thing. But that would be sexist.
“It might be a woman,” I say. “There is no reason to assume that all firefighters are men.”
“Do you think women firefighters get a lot of dates?”
“Hmm. I don’t know. Maybe some men are intimidated. Would you be intimidated by a woman firefighter?”
“No. That’d be badass.”
“I fear your predilection for watching anime featuring young Japanese girls with weapons of mass destruction may have warped your view of women.”
“Maybe I just need a badass woman.”
“Yes,” I said. “I think you do.”