Tuesday, April 3, 2012

alarmist rhetoric

I am back from my road trip with my son.

Here is what happened while I was away: Nothing.

I can't actually be certain, though, since I was not here to observe it.

Here is one thing I did observe: (In truth, I am certain this really happened because my son and I both happened to observe it simultaneously) We were walking along a street in Berkeley, enjoying the sights and sounds -- the smell of marijuana mixed with gelato and urine -- and we passed two guys who stood at the curb, staring up at a sign on a storefront.

One of them said to the other: "That is an incredible font."

I looked at my son. He looked at me.

He said, "I rarely encounter people who truly appreciate the magnificence of a good sans-serif."

Here is something else that happened to me up in Berkeley.

After dropping my son off at his dorm, I went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. While I was under the shower, I heard this:


The smoke alarm in my room was alerting everyone on the fucking planet that there was some urgent matter involving smoke.

It would not shut up.

What do you do? I was... um... naked. And wet. And the alarm in the room stubbornly persisted:


By the way, I do not smoke. I also do not fire up the hibachi when I travel.


Standing there, under the shower, I decided a plan of action was necessary. My plan involved climbing up on the sofa and breaking the fucking thing, which I started to do just as there came a rattling at the door accompanied by the presence of the hotel smoke detector squad.

Did I mention that I was naked and dripping wet and climbing up on my sofa?


Oh yeah. Good times.

Luckily, before entering the shower I did something I rarely do: I closed that little-metal-thing-that-looks-like-a-seagull's-wing-on-the-door-that-I-always-forget-is-there-and-BAM!-surprise-myself-with-why-the-fuck-can't-I-open-my-door-thing-that-I-do-not-know-what-they're-called
so I spared myself the complete awkwardness of being taken to the ground while naked, wet, and standing on a sofa by the hotel's smoke detector squad, although I did have to explain through the crack in the door: 1) why I was naked and wet, and 2) that I did not set fire to the hotel room.

But the thing still did not shut up.


It is difficult to get dressed when you are being screamed at by a fucking plastic disc on the wall that refuses to be broken.

Later that night, this happened:

It was 3:30 a.m.

Exactly 3:30.

I was so asleep. It was wonderful. Right in the middle of this really bizarre dream about two superhero women (one wore a red suit, and the other wore white) who were fighting -- kicking the living shit out of each other -- in the branches of a very big, tangled tree.

It was a cool dream!

Guess what happened?


Someone had set the alarm clock beside the bed to go off at exactly 3:30 a.m.

What do you do?

I was in alarm hell. I can't turn off strange alarm clocks. I don't ever use an alarm clock at home, but a foreign clock is entirely unmanageable to me. Besides, I am totally blind without my glasses.


So, I had to get out of bed, find my glasses, turn on the lights, and figure out how to shut up the goddamned alarm clock.

I was done. Pissed off. No more fighting female superheroes in trees.

My nerves are shot.

I hate alarms. They do not save lives. They make people angry and stressed out.

Alarms -- all of them -- are killers.