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Every Shabbat when it’s nice weather, we take a walk to the park and to the creek. It’s a busy trip out the door with four kids under the age of seven, and we’re always managing trying to keep everyone walking and not into the street. On our walks this spring I would always have a momentary whiff of gas, and I soon realized I always smelled it at the same spot. We walk to the creek without cell phones, and then spend hours there. On the way home, we sometimes take a different route or we’re dealing with exhausted and soaking wet kids. I would always forget about the gas smell, and always assumed that if it actually smelled like gas, one of the families in the houses around the intersection I smelled the gas would have called it in. Maybe they had already and it’s nothing. I’ve never thought about that momentary whiff outside of Shabbat until today, when this happened:
What we know about the deadly gas explosion in Baltimore:
– A “major” gas explosion ripped through three homes in the Reisterstown Station neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore.
– The exact cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. pic.twitter.com/WMM6SraBSp
— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) August 10, 2020
I decided, you know what? I’ll just call. It was a strange phone call. “There’s a spot around this intersection. No, I don’t live that close to it. I’m not sure I smell it. Yeah, I’ve actually smelled it for months now. No, I don’t know anyone in the houses around that intersection, so, no, I’m not sure if they smell it either.”
I hung up the phone feeling pretty embarrassed with an agent that obviously thought I was wasting their time on the same day there was this massive explosion. But honestly, if I didn’t call today, I never would have remembered any other day. But maybe I should’ve waited a day or two, I thought with some guilt. Why did it take me months to call, and couldn’t I have waited until another day?
A few hours later I got in the car to go pick my kids up from camp and saw the gas company analyzing the street. I stopped and told them I was the one who called in the smell and asked plainly, “So, am I crazy? Is there actually a gas smell?” They laughed and assured me that there was, in fact, not just one leak, but potentially two. An hour later, they were ripping up the street and we sat until dinnertime watching them work.
My son sat for an hour drawing the scene:
And they even let us come close for a look at the gas line itself, six feet into the ground, that was leaking:
All in all, I’m glad I called, obviously. I wish I had trusted myself months ago and remembered to call. But if there’s a bright side to the tragedy in Baltimore, maybe it’s things like this.Published in