OK, this is so not funny anymore. The fire alarm went off on Saturday night at 2:45 A.M. I had to get out of my room but didn't leave the building because it was so cold. I stayed in the lobby - like I did every time - waiting for a security man to come in and turn it off.
The security man and two wardens came in and they wanted to turn it off but couldn't :S. The warden then started acting all important and asked us to go outside the building because it is against regulations to stay indoors if the fire alarm has been set off! I told him that there was no fire anyway and it is really cold outside - and we were in the ground floor lobby!! He said that those were the regulations and we have to comply. So, I said "fine, I will go get a jacket", to which he answered: "No, you can't. You shouldn't go back into your rooms until the alarm has been turned off". I thought that was the stupidest thing - THERE WAS NO REAL FIRE - so I said very firmly "I am going in to get a jacket because I will get sick if I go out in the cold" I turned and walked back to my room - initially not intending on coming back out but the noise was really loud so I got a jacket and went outside.
We stood close to the building door and watched how the warden struggled to find the correct key to open the switch box! We couldn't believe it took him almost TEN ******* MINUTES to finally open the switch box :@ :@ :@ talk about stupidity! After finally opening the switch box, the warden struggled for another 5 minuted to turn the fire alarm off. And it worked, yeeey! But a few seconds later it was set off AGAIN. He struggled for a few minutes before turning it off; then it immediately was set off AGAIN!!! That went on for a couple more times and we were starting to get really angry at his stupidity. He then left the building to make some calls; so we tried to go back to the building but the security man stopped us "You are not allowed to go back in the building before the alarm has been shut off". We got really frustrated; so the security man tried giving us the execuse of: "if you go back to your rooms while the alarm is sounding and if then a real fire starts then you won't know that bcz the same alarm is sounding - and that is dangerous" PLEASE! what is the probability of a real fire starting (given that no real fires have happened AND that all those times the fire alarm was set off there was actually no real fire)??? I can calculate that...and it is very close to nill :P
Afterwards the warden came back in and tried to turn the alarm off some more times with no success and then he walked back out again. We then asked the other warden what the deal was and she said that there was some fault in the machine and that they will call the engineer or whomever is responsible! Do you know how much time that would take? Calling the engineer and waking him up and waiting for them to get dressed and get down there and then handling the issue? AND BY THEN WE HAD BEEN STANDING IN THE COLD FOR 30 MINUTES!!!!
Suddenly, everyone started moving and then another security man came and said: "Everyone walk to the back of the building"; WHAT?
- "Why?", I asked.
- "The warden said so", The security man answered.
- "But why?", I asked again.
- "I don't know, I just do as I am told and I was told to move everyone to the back of the building, so move".
- "But it is really cold, AND THERE IS NO REAL FIRE ANYWAY! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?"
- "I don't have an answer to that, but those who don't comply will have their IDs confiscated and will be fined in the morning"
We were really pissed off and we even speculated that the warden asked that we move to the back of the building because he couldn't stand us watching him not being able to turn the fire alarm off. After about five minutes of standing with the crowd behind the building the fire alarm was finally turned off -yeeeey; so we finally headed back to our room to get some sleep. It was 3:30 A.M.
Thomas Friedman at the Saudi regime lobby
4 hours ago