It was 3 a.m. when I woke up. The same as most senior citizens, I assumed nature was calling, so I got up and headed for the bathroom. As I passed a window, I heard a familiar sound. “Hmm, somebody’s car alarm is going off,” I told myself.
When I returned to the bedroom, the alarm was still sounding. I wondered whose it was. I looked out the bedroom window and noted that the neighbor’s van was gone. They went north camping, so even if it were their alarm, I wouldn’t hear it.
Sudden thought. Was it our car alarm? It couldn’t be. Our cars were both locked in the garage. Nothing could bump them to make the alarm sound. Or could they? I dismissed the thought as I went to look out the other windows for the flashing headlights that should accompany the alarm.
After I checked the other windows, I realized I no longer heard the annoying noise. Then I remembered that my daughter had told me that one of her neighbor’s car alarms went off several times a week and she had to remind herself it only lasted for two minutes no matter how long it seemed.
Back in the bedroom, finally ready for sleep, but I heard the alarm again. It was muffled, but definitely there. Oh, no, it must be our car. Could anyone else hear it? It wasn’t very loud. Bill didn’t hear it. He was sleeping soundly. If I bumped the bed would he wake up? Not likely. He was willing to sleep through a tornado last month.
If I deliberately woke him up to tell him I heard a car alarm, what would do? The last time I did that, he just got out of bed, marched down the steps, pointed the key at the car, pushed the magic button, and the alarm went off. When he returned to bed he told me that I could have done that.
On the other hand, it might be rather funny if he stalked down the steps and pointed the key at the front driveway which is now empty. No, mustn’t think that way. He probably wouldn’t see the humor in the situation at 3:30 in the morning.
Oops, 3:30 a.m.! That car alarm had been beeping for 30 minutes. You’d think the battery would have run down by now. Would I have to open the door to turn it off? My friend was in a restaurant when her car alarm sounded. She and three other people just pointed their car keys at the parking lot, pressed the button, and the alarm stopped. I guess the three others thought it was their alarm.
Again, I asked myself could anyone else hear it? I looked out our windows again. There were no lights on at any of the neighbors. There were no bright lights on in our house either, but I heard it. Our poor neighbors.
Was somebody waiting out there for me to come out to turn off the alarm? “Please send an officer to turn off my car alarm.” Right. I’d never live that down. Besides, I didn’t have to go outside to turn it off. My imagination was running away with me. I have to stop reading violent novels before I go to sleep.
Again, I went to the window over our garage. I didn’t hear the alarm. It was over. Finally I could sleep. I could deal with the dead battery when I wake up much later.
I sank gratefully into bed and sighed deeply as I closed my eyes. I should have closed my ears. The noise was back. I got up, circled the bed and headed for the bathroom again. Well it was almost an hour since the last time.
When I left the bedroom and crossed the hall, the sound was gone. I returned to the bedroom and it was back. I looked up at the ceiling. The fan was turning reluctantly, and I realized the car alarm I thought I heard was just a tired fan whimpering. I turned the fan off and went to sleep after promising myself I would not listen to my imagination ever again.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate July 14, 2004.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.