Saturday, May 16, 2009

I just put out a fire.

Yeah, no, really. I just did. I'm hot, and there's still ashes on my palms, and I smell like smoke, and my nerves are still a bit frayed. However, since I may not ever get the chance to be a hero again in anything that's not a videogame, I feel like I should blog about it immediately and bask in the glory of my good deed. I won't brag about it either, because that would be immodest and unseemly. Even though I did kinda just kick ass!

Our story begins with our hero getting booted off the couch--where he had spent the bulk of the afternoon alternating between playing Pokemon on his DSi and napping--so that he could accompany his wife on a walk to the local market, along with the dog, Mila.

The walk to the market went fine, and so we can skip over the details there and jump right to the good part, on the way back, where I get to be awesome. So the wife, dog, and I are rounding the corner about three blocks from our house. As we make the turn, we see an abandoned couch just off the sidewalk...on fire. At this point, the fire is small. Just the very top of it has flames on it. There's no immediate evidence as to what caused it other than that it's scorching hot today. But, anyway, yeah, FIRE.

For one second, the wife and I are frozen. Like, uhhhh...is this our problem? What do we do? There is that microsecond that your brain has something maybe not unlike shock, or just stunned surprise, when you are still processing the event in progress and have yet to make a choice. But the choice usually happens before you even realize you've made it. And such was the case with us, as we both instantly leaped into "HOLY SHIT WE HAVE TO PUT THIS FIRE OUT NOW" mode.

The first thing that happened is that the wife tried covering the flame with a blanket that was sitting on the couch, which worked for about 5 seconds before that in turn went up in flames. And now we had a real fire, as the whole couch lit up. Black smoke began billowing, as both the wife and I immediately started banging on the closest doors to see if anyone had a hose. Meanwhile, another woman passing by on her bike dialed 911. I should mention that one foot away from this flaming couch is a parked car. And about two feet behind the flaming couch is the wooden fence of a home.

Now neighbors are coming out of their doorways, and the first thing I notice is that no one--not one person--comes over to help. As if this wasn't their problem---and that it was my problem, in fact. Even though, ya know, really, this wasn't "my" problem, technically, in that I neither started the fire, nor, in fact, lived on this street. But, okay. I'm here. They see some random couple dealing with it. They probably thought it was our dumb asses that got the couch on fire in the first place.

Still. The experience, with a few of the folks we encountered, was not too heartening. One house where I banged on the door, yelling, "there's a fire next door! Do you have a hose?" was met with silence even though I could see people right there through the window looking. The guy right next door to the house with the couch on fire just looked blankly at my wife, and then at the fire, as if he'd never seen either--a woman or a fire--in his life, and then proceeded to do nothing.

But, again, okay. Whatever. The next door I go to, a guy is coming out of his house just as I'm walking up to the door, and he gets it immediately. His two little boys are fascinated by the flaming couch, of course, but he waves them back as I yell "get your hose!" and he gets it and feeds it to me as I go across the street with it, hoping it will reach.

He turns the water on full blast, and yes, it does reach. Thank god. So, I have at it, going as fast as I can to douse this thing. And even though it's just a couch, it takes awhile to get it under control. It was scary that way. I'd think I had it, but flames would pop up somewhere else. Once at least the main blaze was contained, the guy helping me came over and helped me tip the couch over to get underneath, which was still blazing. The whole thing took probably 7-10 minutes, at which point the fire department arrived, basically just to deal with the aftermath.

They took my name and phone number, one of the firefighters joked "do you want my job?" and we were on our way with the dog back home.

Before this little detour, I had been looking forward to a cup of fresh coffee when we got home. After this, however, I opted for a beer.

Yowsa!

78 comments:

KFMeller said...

Jeff Green saves the world yet again. What can't this man do, we may never know. Good job man, I'm thinking mabye a medal, perhaps the key to the city?

Sinnix said...

I attribute your uncanny ability to make split-second decisions to a lifetime of playing fast-paced video games. Obviously, instead of murdering the couch you doused the flames engulfing it and saved the day. Good show!

Oppugno said...

That is pretty crazy, good job man.

I really hate how people have this mind block where they decide something isn't their problem and ignore incoming disasters like that.

Raf said...

You sir, are a man of action. Good job Jeff Green!

ProtocolSnow said...

Phenomenal work, Jeff. A new career path, perhaps? :)

Joe Smith said...

Hi-yoh.

Well done, good sir :)

Adam said...

Good work Jeff, its a tribute to you and your wife that you were able to keep relatively calm and deal with the fire, especially when almost everyone else was ignoring it.

If you hadnt been round that at that time then how knows what could have happened, especially with a car so close by.

Jefferson said...

Genovese syndrome = Green syndrome?

Anonymous said...

Jeff Green. Writer. Gamer. Father. Fire-fighting legend!

Anonymous said...

so how are you gonna put this into your game.

Kent said...

You are the greatest man that ever lived.

Can I adopt you as my father?

At least we know what game you are working on now: Sim Firefighter.

Karl Rosner said...

Damn green, you got balls of steel. Forget duke-nukem forever, lets make a Jeff Green game!

-Karl

www.data-cube.org

Steve said...

Sounds exciting.

In the second paragraph, the pronoun "her" has no antecedent. Perhaps you should change the phrase "our hero getting booted off the couch" to "the wife booting our hero off the couch".

Veko said...

Thanks for not having 'not my problem' syndrome. As is obvious by those two idiots you first asked for help from, way too many people have it.

The simplest of problems are often squelched by someone giving a shit. You know, like a guy walking in a neighborhood that isn't even his, and stopping a flaming couch before it becomes a flaming house or car.

Bravo, sir. Bravo.

Jeff Green said...

Steve: yikes! Thanks for the edit! Fixed now. :)

oooooooooo said...

Mattel should make a action-figure out of you now!

mjd said...

Awesome. Also, awesome.

Anonymous said...

This sounds really far fetched.

Who started the fire? Sauron, perhaps, and perhaps this was in Middle Earth?

Perhaps the couch wasn't at the side of the road at all, but rather was in your living room - i.e. you never left the couch at all, but had a jolly nice dream in which you got to perform heroic endeavors.

Nice blog.

Now can we get back to reality please?

Dan said...

Hero Jeff!

Jin said...

JEFF GREEN YOU ARE MY HERO

stupid ppl honestly…

RetroBob said...

Nice one Jeff! I wonder how far away the people who started it were? If the fire was not big to start with they can't have been far.

Troy Goodfellow said...

Are you sure you weren't just reliving a Sims game? Because this happens to my Sims all the time.

Mark Thompson said...

What type of Beer did you have?

Ian Jacobson said...

mr green you are my hero!

Anonymous said...

Yay let's set the couch on fire!

James said...

Awesome.

I'm still distracted by the unanswered question of who the hell started the fire in the first place!

Stefan said...

Your first "117 days":
* Put out a fire

Obama has got nothing on you, sir!

JugglerofGeese said...

I am picturing, drunk college kids saying "Oh god we set the couch on fire" and instead of getting water to put it out, just carried it outside. Leaving it to become someone elses problem.

ToddYoung said...

Awesome job Jeff! Considering how easily fires seem to destroy whole communities out in California it was a pretty big deal for you to do this. Next time have 2 beers. Cheers.

VººDºº|2ª¥ said...

Its called "Bystander Apathy". The bigger the crowd, the less likely they will help. More info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_apathy

Stray Neutrino said...

The irony...

People say you should yell "Fire!" instead of "Help!" because people are supposed to respond to that more readily.

Guess human behaviour wins out in the end.

Allan said...

Just another day in the life of Mr. Green.

Do you ever get tired of being... what's the word... awesome?

I hope you hugged your couch in appreciation after this ordeal.

Justden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Urock said...

Go Green! What you didn't know is that the car was that of a man stockpiling gasoline and kept it in his car, the paint was oil based, as were the houses. Oh, and the neighbors had TNT in the backyard. So yah. You just saved the whole city. Or at least the whole block.

Fjornsvavne said...

Really bugs me that people lose more of what you could say is moral courage? Or just sympathy towards other people. Anyway, it's sadly something that has slowly drained from the common man, as I see things.

Somehow though it doesn't surprise me one bit that you are a man who takes action in those cases, and I'm glad for it. Yay for Jeff!

Javier said...

It sounds like the neighbors were suffering from bystander effect, amplified by the fact that someone was already fighting the fire. I just took my AP psych exam, though, so I dunno if I'm the best person to psychologically analyze people.

Stephen said...

Quest: "The Couch Trip" (Group)

Task: Find the burning couch and extinguish flames in a timely manner. COMPLETED

Reward:

+10 Reputation with local citizens.
+100 Reputation with Greenspeak Readers

Cape of the Fire Marshall, (doesn't really do much except adds +3 to your Dorkiness Factor)

1250XP

Justden said...

If everyone was heroic then heroes wouldn't be special. You sir, of course, are very special; maybe short-bus special but special none the less.

Jeff Green: Man of Steel

Anonymous said...

Hey, look at what was written in that Wikipedia entry for 'The Bystander Effect'.

"To counter the bystander effect when one is the victim, one recommendation is to pick a specific person in the crowd to ask for help rather than appealing to the larger group. For example, point directly to a specific bystander and give the person a specific task such as, "you in the red shirt, dial 911." This clarifies the situation and places the responsibility directly on a specific person instead of allowing it to diffuse."

But that's exactly what Jeff did do.

He wrote that he went and knocked on somebody's door - and the guy just looked at him.

So what do you have to do to get somebody's attention in a situation like that? The only thing I can think is that you'd have to pick up the couch and drag it over onto the guy's property and then walk away. God damn, this makes me angry. The next time I see a couch on fire, and somebody trying to put it out, I'm stepping in.

Tristessa said...

Nice job!

It's a good thing you picked up the quick thinking skills from twitchy gaming, rather than running back and forth in a panic like those Sims!

Anonymous said...

Nice Jeff, all of us brodeo citizens are proud of you. Considering that this was in California, you would think the neighbors would be a little more concerned about stray fire. Long live Dufeaus, or whatever =).

T said...

Is it wrong that during your story all I could picture were the Sims? I can't remember how many times something caught on fire and all they did was stand next to the fire waving their hands in the air. :-)

LordCrom said...

I see Brad Pitt playing you in the Major Motion Picture version of this heroic moment where one man (and his wife) saved an entire city block from utter destruction. The final scene in the film will be a slow motion shot of you walking away from the smoking couch with your shirt off, slicking your hair back while fire trucks are behind you and your dog lifting its leg to squirt out the final flame to the fire. Directed by Michael Bay of course.

Squall said...

Must have come from all that practice in Burning Rangers! Right?

Zidan said...

You sir, are Awesome.

Laughing Man said...

So all those quarters spent on Sega's Brave Firefighters arcade might actually be of some use!

Panda said...

Wow! That's a pretty awesome story, Jeff. Well, if you take out all the people doing nothing part. That's the kind of thing I always worry about being true but don't often have the chance to test. I know how you feel about people around you probably thinking that it was your fault because you were trying to deal with it. >_<

Billy Joel said...

WE DIDNT START THE FIRE!
IT WAS ALWAYS BURNIN!
SINCE THE WORLDS BEEN TURNIN!

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I can't find this information anywhere, so I'm hoping that you'll be able to provide an answer.

Does The Sims 3 have weather?

One of my favorite expansion packs from The Sims 2 was Seasons. I can't imagine having to return to playing a sims game that doesn't have weather, and changing seasons.

I'm kind of surprised that nobody wrote about this in any of the previews - did Malloy mention this in his preview for 1up? I don't believe that he did?

Maybe I'm a fool for doing this - but I'm counting the days now for this game's release. I'm just fed up with playing computer games and having to kill things all the time. COD 5, GTA 4, Fallout 3, Bioshock, Crysis, Empire: Total War, FEAR 2... it's all about killing, killing, killing... it gets kind of tiring after a while. Is this why some of us love The Sims so much - I think it is.

I'm also looking forward to playing Mirror's Edge - pretty much for the same reason.

Raymond said...

An amazing act and tale, sir! Thanks for blogging it.

Gregory said...

Dude! Awesome! But I must first admit that I wondered if you gotta a little somethin' somethin' from the woman. Being the big hero and all. Then I remembered, your married. n/m

Mike said...

Well done, Jeff. You're a good citizen!

playmer said...

/highfive

Anonymous said...

Has there been a lot of buzz at the office regarding the leaked copy of The Sims 3?

I'll bet there's been a lot of water-cooler discussion taking place?

Anonymous said...

Awesome, dude!

Got any plans for this weekend?

Dave said...

May karma bestow good fortune upon you Jeff!!!

I recall coming home one night to be met by a wall of smoke in the garage. I found small garbage pail engulfed in flame with a singed sawhorse above it. Slightly freaked out, I doused the flames with a pitcher of water, then proceeded to air out the garage. Then I woke up my parents to let them know the house almost burnt down, but I had deftly extinguished the fire. In the morning my father took the role of fire marshal and found the source of the fire being a cigarette butt negligently tossed away by one of my siblings.
Just an anecdote as to why its in your best interest to let your kids stay out late on the weekends.

Thank you for the story fellow circumstantial firefighter!

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how much the "not my problem" attitude is embedded in our culture. I'm glad there are people like you out there who get it.

dLindner said...

Jeff, what's the feeling @ EA about Sims 3 leakage?
I cant's believe it...

Anonymous said...

dLindner, The Sims 3 'leakage', I'm sure, would've been mentioned on the GFW podcast - but Jeff's a developer now. My guess is that reporting on gaming, or just writing about gaming or talking about it, takes up a lot more time and energy than most people realize. My guess is that Jeff's remaining silent on a lot of these topics, not because he has nothing to say, but because it takes up so much time and energy to say it.

I say to everyone who will listen: If you want to hear gamers talking passionately and articulately about gaming then the PC Gamer Podcast is a really great show.

That podcast deserves much more attention than what it gets - and I think it's worth pointing out that because the PC Gamer editors are getting paid to do their jobs, it means that we're seeing regular podcasts from them.

Some of the amateur podcasts we've seen as of late, have been really good, and people have been quick to praise them - but those same people never mention that many of the amateur podcasts are irregular.

PC Gamer is giving us a new podcast approximately once every week and a half - it's just nice to have a show that you can rely on like that.

crazyred said...

Typical gamer;

he saves the COUCH!

=)

Slider said...

http://www.inquisitr.com/24533/woman-raped-in-washington-park-as-hundreds-watched-nobody-intervened/

dLindner said...

You're right. I just wanted to hear it from "inside". Thank you man. Going to check it out right now.

Anonymous said...

PC Gamer awarded The Sims 3 with a score of 92% - okay, there's been a lot of discussion about game-scoring from Green and Co., but still, 92%, that bodes well, I think.

I'm just really looking forward to getting my hands on this title.

The next really big release, for me, won't be until the release of Dragon Age: Origins. So this summer it's The Sims 3 all the way.

Signal to Noise said...

I avowed never to pick up another Sims title ever since the floodgates opened for Sims 2 expansions. I played the first Sims when it first got released and that was that.

But the PC Gamer review has got my interest piqued. Screenshots looks good.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I don't know if you're aware of this or not... and please don't take this the wrong way... but your Twitter feed has got to be the biggest tease on the internet. Every time you post a Twitter comment I think, oh god, I hope he blogs about that.

The camping trip, the gym at E.A., the meeting in which you were instructed 'how to give demos to the press' - these are all things I want to read about in greater depth.

It's like being told about a great show that's playing, but then being denied a ticket in. This Twitter is not good. It's the headline, minus the story.

I guess I just don't get it.

(But honestly, I would LOVE to hear about the demo thing. Demo-etiquette. I had no idea.)

Anonymous said...

Also, contact your father, and get him to write a guest-blog-entry, because I want to read about his walk across The Golden Gate bridge.

Just before my dad died, we walked underneath a newly constructed tunnel that now runs underneath the city, here in Vancouver - you can drive through the tunnel in about one minute; it took us almost a half an hour to walk through!

By the way, what did your dad do for a living?

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trip said...

Hi Jeff, fellow rider here (maybe you remember an email from me). 22 years of riding on the street in a big city - so i know where you are coming from.

good blog, but you left out the level of rage you unleashed on the sportscar boy

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