Friday, September 27, 2013


More adventures. This morning at 4, I was awoken by the smoke detector in my room. It wasn’t really “going off” or whatever the expression is; it was chirping. Intermittently. It took me a minute or two to even figure out where the sound was coming from, owing to the fact that it was 4 in the morning and I was alone and not in my bed or anywhere near home. Ever since those years of living on the road, I wake up – not infrequently – disoriented, not having any idea where I am or what time of year it is. It feels almost like amnesia, and sometimes lasts for several minutes.

I got my bearings, but I so did not want to get out of bed and investigate.

I stared at the round plastic thing on the ceiling for a while, figured it was probably just low on battery power since it wasn’t ringing loud or long enough to motivate anyone but enough to keep me awake. I thought about ripping it out of the ceiling, but then I thought, “What if it’s detecting carbon monoxide and if I go back to sleep I never wake up?” Jesus fuck. I have such a hard time getting back to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night, which is pretty much every night. And I do not like to be dragged out of bed.

I called the front desk and it rang a dozen or so times. Eventually someone picked up. I told her what was happening. She said, “Can’t you turn it off?” I said, “Well, I suppose I could, but I’m slightly concerned about going back to sleep in a room where the smoke alarm is ringing.” She said, “There’s no one here but me, and I’m in the laundry room.”

Well, I’m sure the laundry is more important than me dying in my sleep. I didn’t say that. By then it wasn’t beeping any more. I told the woman it had stopped, and I went back to bed. Just as I was drifting off, it started again. I called again. The laundry woman said she’d meet me at the desk and let me into another room where I could sleep and someone would check out the alarm in the morning.

So that’s what I did.

I did not sleep well or much. I had a dream in which I was watching a high school friend portray a tragic but funny drunk in a play, and another in which I ran into an old friend whom I haven’t seen in years, and she had gained about 500 pounds. She was so fat I couldn’t reach her face to kiss her.

I’m glad to know I’m staying in a hotel where, if the smoke alarm goes off at 4 a.m., there’s no one here who can do anything about it.

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