What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Flames of Hell’s Kitchen July 13, 2013

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

The summer after my sophomore year of college I lived in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. That summer I lived with a forty-seven-year-old voodoo practicing lesbian who was still trying to become a professional dancer, made friends with a homeless man who saved my life, and had all sorts of other adventures. But one fateful day I decided to make lunch.

I’m not a cook. I never cook. I am a hazard to all around me on the rare occasions that I try. But for some reason on this day I decided I needed to cook. We had a gas stove in the apartment. I hated lighting the burners, so I decided to use the oven. I don’t remember what I was making. I never actually made it to the eating part.

I got my food ready and opened the tray at the bottom of the oven to light whatever you call the fiery pit of death that makes the oven hot. The moment I struck the match I knew something was very wrong. I heard a pop. Thank God I had been around enough fire to know what that meant. I imagine orange flames bursting at my face, but I don’t really know what it looked like. I covered my face with my hands before the flames hit and ducked away from the stove.  I reached over and turned off the gas without opening my eyes. I grabbed my keys and cell and ran out of the building. I called the super and then 911.

The building had a teeny tiny gas leak that started in my apartment. I was stuck wandering the streets of Hell’s Kitchen my hair burned and frizzed like a cartoon character who had been struck by lightning. The backs of my hands were shiny and raw, and the worst part: my eyelashes had been singed. A few hours later I was allowed back into my apartment. I cried in the shower as chunks from the front of my hair crumbled and fell in piles at my feet.

I was lucky to be alive, I know that. But my damn eyelashes. It took about six months for them to really start growing back. That was, we’ll call it, a few years ago and they still have never regained their full length. Until I was being lovingly taunted about my stubby lashes by a cast member. Desperation and Google helped me to find a lash solution. With a combination of Vaseline and vitamin E oil I once again have normal looking lashes. And a healthy phobia of gas stoves.


9 Responses to “The Flames of Hell’s Kitchen”

  1. ABE Says:

    Just curious – what is the Vaseline and Vitamin E oil treatment for lashes? I’ve hesitated getting the new stuff they’ve come out with recently to make your lashes grow (it’s like Rogaine for lashes – and if you don’t use it daily forever, the effect stops. Expensive).

    We didn’t have Google back then, but my grandmother loved Vitamin E oil – I should have listened better.

    • Before bed take a q-tip and put on the Vaseline like eye liner. Then use a clean mascara wand to apply a thin layer of vitamin e to your lashes. In the morning make sure you rinse off your lids with a very gentle soap before applying makeup or nothing will stick. It really does help!

  2. helenrj Says:

    Yikes! That is a hellish story! If that had happened to me, I would never have baked again. I do want to know about the homeless man that saved your life.

  3. rockettattoo Says:

    now you know your fireproof (sort of). Taken out of context this story (and yourself) could be the basis for a super heroine. But maybe it takes a comic book nerd like myself to think of that.

  4. […] about more kitchen fires here: The Flames of Hell’s Kitchen Super Megan! Microwaved […]

  5. […] complete list of all the times I have nearly caught myself on fire, please follow the links below: The Flames of Hell’s Kitchen Super Megan! Microwaved Mayhem Mrs. Astor’s Kitchen […]

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