the burning house

If your house was burning, what would you take with you?

Based on the small percentage of people affected by house fires, it remains a mystery to me that this little interrogative sentence frequents conversation as if it were the third piece of the ‘what’s your name?’, ‘what do you do?’ trifecta. It comes up a lot, and when it does, it’s extremely thought provoking.

The Burning House Blog shares how people all over the world address this question with their own hodgepodge piles of the valuable, practical and sentimental items they wouldn’t dare let turn to ash.

Jordan, 17, Australia

Jessica, 25, Chicago

Bates, 29, California

Hannah, 20, Georgia

Brian, 28, Chicago

Christiane, 28, Amsterdam

Laura, 24, Delaware

As for me, I have no pets, I have no babies, and I have never had a stuffed animal or a childhood blankie. So what would fill my hands as I come tumbling out of swirling clouds of smoke? I’d imagine a couple of photographs of family and loves, a David Sedaris book, Pablo Neruda’s poetry, my favorite sweater, some extra contacts, a cliff bar, my iPod, and of course, its charger. As methodical as that plan may seem, the moment my house catches on fire I know that I’ll truly be at the mercy of adrenaline, and all of a sudden I’ll be running away from the violent blue flames with three pairs of mismatched shoes, something I thought was underwear but really is a bathing suit bottom from 8th grade, a pillow, 4 bananas, and some charcoal. Life.


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