Alarm in the Night

Short post tonight.  Lifelongnewyorker is writing as she’s listening to the State of the Union Address.  Right now, the Prez is entering the Chamber, greeting his way down the aisle.

I’m settling into a bit of a routine and, now that the Great Mattress Switch is behind us, I’ve slept soundly.  In fact, I was in a sound sleep last night when I woke at 4:45 a.m. to a distinct chirping sound.  Had one of those mourning doves made it way into my bedroom?  No … they coo in an owlish way; they don’t chirp.  Perhaps I’d imagined it. 

Settling back into the pillow, I drifted off, only to hear it again.  By the third chirp I realized it was the sound of the bedroom smoke alarm, reminding me that it was time to change the battery.  Why do they decide to do this in the middle of the night? 

I am in an up-to-date townhouse apartment complex, and each room has a smoke detector.  The chirp came from the one at the foot of my bed; I couldn’t replace the battery, but I certainly could remove it.  I got up, wondering why Mr. NYer couldn’t be here to take care of this and let me sleep.  Stumbling out to the dining area, I returned with a chair and parked it beneath the alarm.  Reaching up, I twisted off the cover, immediately setting off a distinctive high-pitched wail.  That’s when I saw that this smoke alarm was hard-wired into the ceiling.  No battery to remove. 

I replaced the cover and decided to time the chirps.  Coming once a minute, at least they weren’t increasing in frequency, like contractions.  There was no way I was going to sleep.  Should I go to the other room and sleep on the soft mattress?  Only as a last resort. 

Instead, I climbed the chair again to read the small print on the cover.  It told me to refer to the owner’s manual.  As a renter, I didn’t have an owner’s manual.  Next I grabbed the folder I’d received when I moved in that had the rules of the complex and the renter’s handbook.  Clearly the management office would not be staffed at this hour, but I remembered an emergency number.  Did a malfunctioning, madly chirping smoke detector count?  I read the operative paragraph: emergencies included plumbing and electrical problems.  This was potentially an electrical problem.  It was certainly a problem.  Maybe they could troubleshoot.

I punched the number into the cell phone and heard it ring.  Three rings, but then a human voice.

“All our operators are busy now,” it told me, “please hold on. . .”

[First time the Republicans clap — they’re on their feet for the eliminaton of capital gains taxes on small businesses.  Good thing, I was afraid their faces were going to freeze like that.]

It’s 4:50 in the morning, and all the operators are busy?  Was every occupant in the complex attempting to cope with a chirping alarm?  And why was only one alarm chirping?  After about a minute, I realized that no operator was going to pick up soon, and doubted much help would be offered.  I disconnected.

Now what?  Sleep in the other bedroom, on the too-soft mattress I’d rejected?  Return to bed and sandwich my head between pillows?  Stuff beans into my ears? 

[“No one accepts second place for the United States of America …”– he’s going for the kind of lines the Republicans can’t afford not to be in favor of … like mom and apple pie.]

Really wanting to go back to sweet sleep, I was ready to make one last stab at fixing the problem.  Climbing the chair again, I peered at the detector.  A green light was blinking.  Next to it was a button:  “Push and hold to test alarm.” 

I pushed; it screamed.  But at the same time the blinking light turned to solid green.  Stepping down, I waited and watched the clock.  A minute clicked by, then another.  No chirp.  I crawled back into bed. 

[Republicans don’t seem to be in favor of clean energy.  And I just noticed that Joe Biden’s tie matches Nancy Pelosi’s suit.]

The sun streamed brightly into the bedroom when I woke.  Really brightly.  Why so bright?  Because it was nearly 8 a.m., the very hour at which I should have been walking into the office. I guess I hit the alarm when the first chirp sounded.  I don’t remember, but it’s my best case. 

[“The best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education.”]

Turns out the rush hour — or rush minute, as some call it — is over by 8:15, when my still-damp-from-the-shower self hit the road. 

And now, a brief progress report: 

— I have discovered the back way to Winn-Dixie.

— I have also discovered how to avoid the Bypass (the highway-like road that reminds me of Rte 9 in New Jersey) when taking the local roads to head to Cloverdale.

— Today I received the business cards of both a dentist and a hair stylist. 

— My membership in the Y is in progress. 

Have a good night y’all.

[Ooooo, he just threatened the veto …]


One Response

  1. keep ’em coming..I’m getting comfortable

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