This is a story that’s almost too embarrassing to tell. But I’m willing to open myself up to mockery and judgement in the interest of good storytelling.
A few nights ago I was really wound after work. I’m an occasional insomniac, and I know a sleepless night ahead when I see one so I took a couple Tylenol PMs and settled into bed with a good zombie book. I was just nodding off when I heard an interrmittent Beep Beep Beep every 30 seconds coming from the hallway outside my door.
It was the carbon monoxide detector.
It was 12:15 a.m.
Now, this has happened before so I knew that it was most likely beeping because the battery was dead. A rational person might have taken the batteries out and gone back to bed.
I am not a rational person.
I am a obsessive person.
So instead I stumbled around my house in my Tylenol PM state looking for three double As. I didn’t find any so I put on my Uggs and a sweatshirt with my hot pink Skelanimal jammie pants and told a sleepy Dr. Rossman that I was going down to the mini mart.
“Of course you are,” he said.
I’d like to point out that ordinarily I have a strict No Pajamas in Public policy but given the late hour and my drowsy state I decided to make an exception. To go to a mini mart. In the middle of the night. For batteries.
So I got home with the batteries, replaced them and slid the cover back on.
It resumed beeping.
At this point I was so tired I was almost weepy. At 12:30 in the morning things don’t seem the same as they do in the light of day. I noticed the small print on the back of the detector that says “Seven years from initialization, unit will beep every 30 seconds to indicate unit should be replaced.” BUT in my overtired in the middle of the damn night state, I start questioning the meaning of the beep.
Is it really the battery?
Has it been seven years?
Is our house quietly filling with carbon monoxide while I consider these questions?
I could see the headlines, “Local Family Victims of Carbon Monoxide. Detector With Batteries Disengaged Found on Kitchen Table.”
These are the thoughts that go through my head, at 12:45 a.m., three hours after ingesting two Tylenol PM.
So I did what any semi-delusional, obsessive-compulsive would do. I changed into jeans and went to The Wal-Mart. In the middle of the night. For a new carbon monoxide detector.
Have you been to Wal-Mart in the middle of the night?
So I’m in The Wal-Mart at now 1 a.m. and I decided to pick up a new smoke alarm while I’m there because I remember back to the night two years ago when BOTH the carbon monoxide detector and the fire alarm batteries died IN THE SAME NIGHT.
Anyway, it was about 1:30 a.m., on a school night mind you, when I got back from The Wal-Mart with my two new detectors and a 20-pack of AAs just for good measure.
I was telling my dad this story the next day and he said, “You did the right thing.”
I guess it runs in the family.