2006-04-26

Where there's fire...there's smoke.

If smoke enters a room and the smoke alarm doesn't make a sound, is there a fire? It's questions like this that keep one up at night.

As I was growing up, we always knew dinner was ready by the sound of the smoke alarm reverberating throughout the house. Well, I've kept this fine tradition alive by burning various meals, tonight's charred cuisine consisted of sausages. I'd made similar concoctions in the past, with nary a peep from my smoke alarm. Consequently, last week I decided to change the batteries within my alarm. So tonight, was an ideal time to put the ringer through the wringer. Yet, again, any tintinabulatory tweaks were not forthcoming.

It just so happens that tonight, I had to go pay my rent in person (it'll take a month to get the direct withdrawal set up again this year) and tried to make my point understood that my smoke alarm was not in working order. She finally figured out my meaning and, 10 minutes later, the landlady/ caretaker was over to my abode. She yanked on the cord to the fan above my stove and it seemed to work fine, so she was ready to leave. I pointed to the smoke alarm and she said that it must be the batteries. I insisted that the batteries were brand new and she went outside and rang the doorbell. I thought this was rather odd and tried to show her my burnt pan as the cause of smoke, trying to get her to understand. I pointed to the smoke alarm and once again she went outside and rang the doorbell. She took a gander throughout my apartment and could see NO smoke alarm anywhere. Then it dawned on me! My smoke alarm is actually the doorbell. There is NO smoke alarm in my apartment. I felt like a grade-A shmuck and sent her on her merry way.

It's interesting that when I first got my place, they went to great lengths to install a fire extinguisher near the entranceway. But they don't go to the trouble of installing a method of detecting fire. I guess that'll be on my list next time I go to the hardware store. At least then, I'll finally be able to tell when dinner is ready!

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