I was burning some branches that came down in a past storm today. The Neighbor Lady noticed what I was doing and called over to me saying that it was too hot outside to stand near a fire. I walked over to her back yard to talk with her a bit.
This is what happened:
"You aren't kidding! Its got to be at least 90 degrees in the shade. I am almost done burning the branches and then I'm going to go in the house and see if I can get the air conditioning to work."
"OH MA GAWD! Yer air c'ndition'n ain't werkin? Gawd, I'd sweat ta death or kill sumbody or sumthin."
"Yeah it sucks when its really hot like this but I'm glad that I'm not using much electricity at least."
"Ya know wut Mike. I think yer place has problems in da wires. I think dey git to hawt an melt or sumthin. Seems I a'member it happnin' last summer too. The wires in the attic git hawt. But that don' make no sense cuz its the wires fer the AC an them shud be cold right?"
"Well, there is a certain kind of wire that has to be used for every kind of application so if its overheating then its more than just the wires most likely. I'll take a look at it."
"How ya gonna see sumthin up there if its hawt enuff ta burn up the wires? Ya might could git burnt up right with em."
"Um...I don't see any smoke or white hot flames belching out of my roof so I'm going to take it for granted that the attic isn't currently ablaze."
"Um...It doesn't look like its on fire."
"Ahhh....ummmm......if the roof was burning I'd probably notice it from here. I mean I can see most of it and it doesn't look like its on fire."
"Mike wut da hell are you talkin bout yer roof burnin up fer? Da wires is in da attic. Ya don' go in from yer roof ta git in yer attic do ya?"
"Seriously? You can't.......I mean......COME ON NOW!....DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING about household wiring, physics, thermodynamics, air conditioning? Any of that stuff? Seriously? Cause if you do then I need to know right now that you do so I don't say something mean."
"If your attic started on fire, wouldn't your roof catch on fire?"
"Well not da outside part wudn't till it burn'd itself threw ta dat side."
"But you agree that at some point a fire, left unchecked, would ultimately engulf the entire roof right?"
"Well unless'n ya went ta put it out it'll burn everythin' up yeah."
"LOOK AT MY ROOF. IS IT BURNING?"
"Well I can't tell frum here Mike. But if ya check out yer attic it might could be."
I paused, set my jaw, took a calm breath in through my nose and decided that calling her the village idiot to her face would likely cause friction between us. So, I opted for a more subtle approach. I wrinkled up my face, sniffed the air and looked all around with wide eyes and said,
"Do you smell smoke? Holy crap! I smell smoke! OH MY GOD LOOK AT YOUR YARD! ITS ALL SMOKEY! IS YOUR PORCH ON FIRE?!?!?!"
"MA GAWD! MA GAWD! MY DUCKS N' KITTENS IS ON DA PORCH!"
At that point she ran off toward the front of the house calling for her husband. I took the opportunity to walk back over to my yard and stir up the fire...that was making the smoke....that we were both looking at.....the entire time.