Then, and, Now, Beep.


Living in a large house has many disadvantages. Depending on how much time and effort you are willing to put into the house’s upkeep, you really have to decide how much space you really need and how much stuff you have to have. Some people buy a house with as much space and as many rooms possible for the price of the house that they can afford. Newly weds need to plan for future members of the family. Others need to keep up with the Jones. However, most people gleam past one of the most important factors when choosing a new house. They neglect to predetermine how many smoke alarms they are willing to maintain before purchasing their new house.




Smoke alarms are important, needless to say. Unlike public buildings where you have fire sprinklers and sophisticated alarm systems integrated into the structure, a private home’s last defense against fire damage is the smoke alarm. So, making sure the smoke alarm is operating optimally is imperative. However, at what cost must one keep all his smoke alarms working? Sure, you may not think of it as a big deal. Just have to make sure you have fresh batteries in the smoke alarm and occasionally test it by spraying the alarm with some aerosol.




Let me tell you, it is not that easy. Everyone has one of those days where you come home from a hard days work, and all you want to do is to slump into a hot bath, jump into a warm bed or cozy up to a good book. If your mother or annoying friend calls you, the answering machine is your best friend. Door to door salesman comes knocking? Pretend like no one’s home. But, what if when you’re warm in your pajamas under two sets of comforters perfectly positioned for a warm and toasty slumber? You know, you got it exactly the way you like it. Then, you hear a beep. You ignore it. Then, you hear another beep. Then, beep.




Sometimes, you can tell where a sound is coming from. But, this beep is so high pitched that it seems to bounce off every wall in the house before it reaches your ear. And, once it does reach your ear, there is no way you can just fall back to sleep no matter how tired you are. This beep has to be annihilated. You plan a preemptive strike. You are forced out of bed, put on your slippers, and you sneak room to room, laying siege to the beep that must die. But, you must keep your ears open and your senses ready. You don’t know where the beep is coming from, and you don’t know when the smoke alarm will beep again.




Gingerly, with your back against the wall, you inch your way from wall to wall. You still your heart beat and you calm your breath, so you can maximize the distinctiveness of the direction of where the beep originates. You traverse, you wait, you hear the beep, and you repeat these steps until you finally track down the smoke alarm that is beeping. Alas! The culprit is found. But, you realize you don’t have the right battery to replace the one that gone bad in the smoke alarm. You are cranky and tired, so you roll back into bed while making a mental note to purchase extra 9-volt batteries tomorrow.


Back in bed, you hear a beep. Eleven PM. Then, beep. And, beep. Twelve PM. Beep. Quarter to four. Beep.

Etane 11-13-05