The knock was what woke me. I was muddled and half asleep as I grunted a "what" in the general direction of the door. The cat was on my chest. I pushed her off. If the person on the other side of the door had said anything, I couldn't hear it. But I could hear a high-pitched electronic beeping sound. A fire alarm?
I grabbed the cat, pushed myself to my feet, and pulled the door open. "Help me figure out where this noise is coming from." The woman was white-haired, in that nebulous age between 40 and 80 where it was really hard for me to tell how old someone actually was. But this woman, my grandmother, was so familiar to me that I barely noticed she was wearing her nightgown instead of real clothes, let alone her apparent age.
"M'kay," I mumbled, still trying to wake up.
Slowly, I realized that if she didn't know where it was coming from, it wasn't a fire alarm. And it wasn't loud enough, anyway. I put the cat back.
Was that what I would save, if the house was on fire? Not my important documents. Not my phone or my laptop, or even my notebook. It was the cat.
If it had been a real emergency, logically I ought to have grabbed the things that would help me survive between now and the time my insurance paid for the replacement of lost possessions. But instead I had grabbed the one thing that would have actually cost me money to keep. After all, she needed food and litter and all sorts of accoutrements, not to mention she needed flea treatment.
If I had been in real danger, would I have acted any differently?