Monday, October 12, 2009

Beep, Beep, Beep

First, welcome back to The Buddha Diaries! Best thanks to those who followed along with our trip back East, and especially to those who took the time to comment. I loved hearing from you and though I did not find time to respond while on the road, I intend to look back over the days and respond individually where I can.

Before I get to the issue of the day--it's laundry, friends!--though, I have a few words for Andy Rooney, whose customarily self-congratulatory rant on 60 Minutes last night must have touched a nerve for anyone who has the slightest problem getting to sleep. For Andy, it seems, it's easy. He can do it standing up, sitting down, or lying. On the bus. At work. Morning, afternoon, evening. He did not spare a compassionate thought for others, though. I'm pretty good myself, in the normal course of things. There are times, however...

Like last night. My body-clock has me still somewhere between here and Washington DC. Even so, I managed to get to sleep okay and was dreaming vaguely, I think, about visiting JKF and Jackie in a rather grand environment when I noticed, in my dream, a continuous, annoying beep occurring every ten seconds or so. It was so penetrating that it soon woke me up--to the realization that the beep was not only in my dream but in reality. One of the fire alarms installed during our remodel was beeping--not in full alarm, but persistently, in intervals of perhaps ten seconds.

Could I get back to sleep and take care of the beep in the morning? I considered this option, loath to get out of bed in the middle of the night, find the flashlight and the step ladder I'd need to reach the ceiling. But the beep was obstinate. My mind latched onto it mercilessly. After perhaps ten minutes of debate, I could tolerate it no longer, found the flashlight and the step ladder, and climbed unsteadily to investigate. When I touched the thing it beeped more furiously. I pulled. The whole contraption broke free from its moorings. It beeped a few more times, frantically, then stopped. I stood on my step ladder for a full two minutes, listening... Nothing.

I retreated to my place beneath the duvet, pleased with myself, and set about the task of falling back to sleep. My mind was now in gear. It likes to play with words, selecting them and arranging them in just the right order, to say exactly what I need to say with clarity and precision. When I lie awake, Andy, that's what my mind does. Perhaps the words come effortlessly to you when you need them. I have to work at it. Besides, that's how my mind has the fun it needs. Anyway, there I was, trying to get my mind to shut up and struggling with sleep.

And the fire alarm goes off again. After what I judge to have been fifteen minutes of silence. Two short, sharp, penetrating beeps. So now I have to wonder whether it will repeat itself, perhaps in another fifteen minutes. I lie there, sleepless, waiting.

So, forgive me, thinking back on it was I lay there waiting, I concluded that your rant was a little bit on the smug side, Andy. Oh, and I never did get to the laundry. Tomorrow, perhaps.

4 comments:

roger said...

did it go off again? i can't sleep till i know.

those things in the night get me too. usually takes about 15 minutes till i rouse myself and get up to investigate.

PeterAtLarge said...

Actually, Roger, no. Unless it performed again while I was asleep. I called our contractor this morning, who suggest replacing the battery...

robin andrea said...

I was going to say it was probably a battery issue. We had one go off like that when we were still living in the house on the Olympic Peninsula. Ridiculously high ceilings, with the alarm right up there at the tippy top. I remember the trepidation Roger had getting up to that height to fix it.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Remove battery. When awake, replace battery and remount alarm. The hight ceilings in my 100+ year old house make that difficult. had one of my alarms been going off like that so early in the morning, I think I might have slugged it with a golf club,