Picture this: It is 11:50pm last night and I am sitting on my blow-up bed in my client’s livingroom and she is asleep in her bedroom and I am innocently using my iPad when suddenly there is this megadecible “AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA” sounding noise. At first I thought I had done something wrong on my iPad (I am so technically challenged that it would not surprise me if I really could do something to it to make it sound like that!) and I was frantically trying to figure out what the heck I had done and I was terrified of my client waking up furious that I had making such a racket in her livingroom. I wish I would have had a video of my facial expressions as I am sure fear, horror and confusion would have been flashing on it all at the same time. Finally I figured out it wasn’t coming from my iPad (you know, I really should have known that unless it had a bomb in it, no way was it going to make that kind of noise, but like I said….severely technically challenged) and so I frantically ran around the tiny apartment (in my jammies and Xmas apron….don’t ask) trying to find the sound. It then dawned on me that maybe it was the FIRE ALARM and I should perhaps look out into the hallway. I felt the door first to make sure it wasn’t hot (I learned that somewhere) and nope, not hot. I sniffled…no smoke odor. So I slowly opened the door, all the while being made deaf by that dang alarm above her door. I of course, forgot I was in my jammies and Xmas apron until I saw the look that the next-door gentleman gave me. Can you imagine what he must have thought? Here is this fat old lady with rainbow hair, a Xmas apron and black saggy capri jammies and pink bunny slippers on coming out of the apartment. I bet he was more afraid of me than the alarm! Anyway, he said he didn’t think anything was happening, that the alarm had gone off earlier in the day. So I went back in and ran into my client’s bedroom cause I figured she must be freaking out by now but no, she was still half asleep and wasn’t the least bit concerned. Which rather shocked me cause had there really been a fire, I don’t know what we would have done as she has a walker and can barely move with that and we would have had to go down four flights of steps as once the fire alarm goes off the elevators stop working! I was in a quandry as to what the heck to do as I must admit this was a first for me. Do I force her out of bed, just in case? Do I just leave her and wait and see what happens? All the while I am beinging tortured by that ultra-loud alarm.
The phone rings and I am sure it is the fire department telling us to evacuate (would they call?) but it is a neighbor who keeps a look-out for her and he isn’t sure if there is an actual fire somewhere or not. He thinks the alarm has been going for more time than it should. Oh great! And to make matters a tad bit hairier, he is talking on his cell phone and I am only getting every fifth word as he is breaking up and he decides it might be nice to chit chat. I had that feeling that Ashton Kutcher was Punking me and this really wasn’t happening. After five minutes of trying to be polite but not getting anything he is saying and now I am sure my ears are bleeding from that damn alarm, I yell into the phone, “Just knock on the door if we need to evacuate” and hung up. By now my ears were having sharp pains shooting in them and I couldn’t put my fingers in them to try to block a bit of the sound as I had to hear if he knocked or if my client yelled for me so I went and sat in the bathroom on the tub. It was the only place I could go to try to get away from some of that eardrum-piercing sound. Before I went in, I did notice that the fire department was finally on the scene with their ladder engine (now this was a good 15-20 minutes after the alarm started and the fire department is literally across the street!!!!). I should have gone out on the porch and yelled down to them, “Hey, what the heck is going on” but I just thought of that now. I did, tho, have the thought, if we had to evacuate how ridiculous I was going to look in my “outfit” but changing never even occurred to me. Besides, with my luck, I would have been half-naked when the call to evacuate came and then….oh my, it’s too horrible to think of. Best I get caught in my ugly jammies and Xmas apron than my wrinkled, saggy, birthday suit!
Finally after a good 20 or more minutes, the alarm stopped. But now I had the loudest ringing going on in my poor ears and I really thought they might be bleeding. I can now understand when someone in a movie hears a big blast and their ears bleed. I have never experienced such a loud, piercing sound before (ok, my grandson can produce a sound even sharper but not for as long!) Today I called my company to file an incident report as my ears feel “full” and I am having random shooting pains in them. Can you believe that? Needless to say, it wasn’t a routine night!