It was a Saturday night about a decade ago and my GF Liesl and I were watching The Bill – which is not very rock n roll, but in those days apart from actually being in a rock n roll band – we were definitely NOT rock n roll. So I was just lounging around, already just in boxer shorts, cause you can be pretty daggy in the safety of your own home.
Anyway. There was this dinner party going on across the road. They were a bit rowdy, but no big deal. This particular house was in the process of being renovated and they had this new deck which had previously been enclosed. And this was their very first party. In many ways, after years of building – this was their opening night. But then something unusual happened. It was loud enough to draw our attention away from some crucial scene in the Bill. It was like someone dropping a pile of wood. “Why would someone be carting wood around at this hour?” I thought. And then there was this shouting. Maybe it was screaming. We weren’t sure. For a second I thought maybe the party was getting a bit “excited” by fireworks but something else said I should investigate.
So I grabbed a pair of trousers and a shirt and hurriedly dressed. From outside the door I knew the screaming was actual “screaming” so I told Liesl to call 000. I ran across the road jumping across another neighbour’s fences and then I was right there – the first person not involved in the chaos – on the scene. It became quite ridiculously apparent that the brand new deck had collapsed. About 4 people were on the ground tangled up in planks of timber, the dinner table (which remained whole) and what was left of the drinks, plates, cutlery and meal.
Immediately I saw an old woman was stuck up on what was left of the deck. She was being protected from falling by a man behind her – gripping her in a bear-hug.
Another woman on the remaining portion of the deck was hysterically talking to what I assumed was 000. She was going nuts and perhaps exaggerating how dire the situation was – but I did not complain. So I went up to this old guy, obviously in pain, closest to me and I ripped a cushion off a chair to put under his head.
And here is where it gets surreal – I then noticed him looking at my pants and I looked down and my fly was undone. So I smiled and said. “Whoops – sorry about that.” And I fixed myself up. He looked at me like I was dirt, didn’t say anything at that point – nor at any point later. It was like he was appalled that his rescuers were such goobs.
About 60 seconds later the whole neighbourhood was flashing with firetrucks, cop cars and ambulances.
A fireman was first. He assessed the situation and said…and this is verbatim. I cannot make this shit up. He said:
“Has anyone got a ladder?”.
I would have LOL’d if it wasn’t such a serious situation.
So feeling I should do something I went searching for a ladder. I instinctively chose my neighbour’s house (who wasn’t home) and just guessed they might have a ladder underneath.
I grabbed this dusty wooden structure which was at least two metres high and literally seconds later presented it to the fireman. I felt like Face from the A-Team. (Who had this uncanny ability to conjure up anything the team required in the most ridiculous of situations)
So the Fireman rescued the old woman just as this dude from down the road arrived shouting “I got a ladder!” And it was a three step ladder. Totally useless.
The next day in the paper this dude was quoted as saying he got the ladder that rescued the woman. NONSENSE!
So later I was on the news cause nothing much happened that day (in the news). Just for train spotters – I was wearing a Custard t-shirt. Cause that was the style at the time.