If you grew up in the 50’s, this will know this is meant to be sung and you will remember that the JINGLE was for a very white bread product. Not sure if it is still available.
Anyway, last night at 3:00 in the morning, I woke up for my usual pee-break and was unable to get back to sleep because the SMOKE DETECTOR in the hall was chirping. Earlier the previous day, I had written “Beep...Buzz...Ring!” an essay on how our electronics have come to support our busy life style. I know that the batteries in your smoke detectors should be changed every October. The life you save could be your own! But, for some reason I had not remembered to do so in the new Condo. So CHIRP, CHIRP, CHIRP; one CHIRP approximately every minute until you do change the batteries.
So it is three in the morning and I am climbing a ladder which is a little shorter than necessary for me to reach the device in question. I wake up Gregory to help. First we have to figure out how the device is attached to the wall. Then we have to figure out how to detach the device from the wall. And since it is not only has a battery back up but also is connected to the electrical system, we have to figure out how to unplug it from the wires that are attached to it, which in turn are attached to the wall. Are you following? All this at three in the morning when you are supposed to be in bed and the Holsum Bakers are supposedly baking bread.
So far so good. We get the smoke detector detached, unplugged, battery replaced, re-plugged, and reattached to the wall. CHIRP. CHIRP. CHIRP; one CHIRP approximately every minute ... even though we have changed the battery. So maybe the battery is bad even though it came from the box of new batteries. We detach, unplug, remove the battery; which after testing proves to be strong and healthy. We leave the unit on the table in the hall and continue to hear CHIRPING. The CHIRPING sounds like it is coming from the wires dangling out of the wall but that doesn’t make sense because it is the unit that CHIRPS until the battery is changed, not the wires in the wall, and we have changed the battery. So now what?
Well, there is another device just across the hall in the guest bedroom and maybe that is the one chirping. Maybe the chirp is bouncing around causing us to think that it was the first device chirping when in actuality it was really the second device that was chirping. So once again, at three thirty in the morning by now; we detach, unplug, change, re-plug, reattach. CHIRP. CHIRP. CHIRP; one CHIRP approximately every minute. This time we tested the new battery first and it also was strong and healthy. What to do?
Three forty five in the morning, when the first loaves of bread are being slid into the oven, staring at the two smoke detectors laying on the table and still there is chirping. No birds to be seen anywhere! We reattach both devices to the wall, thinking that maybe the wires know something we do not. We wait. A minute seems like an hour. And then ... CHIRP. CHIRP. CHIRP; one CHIRP approximately every minute.
Four O’Clock. There happens to be another device just across the hall in the master bedroom. Could it be that one? Almost ready to repeat the process (they all did need changing anyway,) we instead decide to sit down on the floor and become one with the chirping. Maybe in this way we will discover the true path to the chirping. Did I hear you say ZEN?
And then I see it. The Carbon Monoxide Detector. Sitting on the shelf under the table in the hall. Could it be? I reach for the CO2 Detector. I grasp the CO2 Detector. And as I bring it towards me ... it CHIRPS! Glory by on high! We have discovered the Source of the True Chirp! We open the little door at the back of the device, we struggle to remove the battery from its too small compartment. We test yet a third battery and find it not wanting. We insert the new battery and struggle to attach it in its too small compartment. And ... Voila (French for there you have It!)
Four thirty. The chirping has stopped. Forever. Or at least until next October.
Meanwhile, I forgot to mention that we we are detaching and re-attaching the aforementioned devices from the wall, using strong force to twist and detach it from the wall and then more force to unplug it from the electrical wires for easier access. Meanwhile, we are unearthing an entire brand new condo unit’s worth of drywall mudding and sanding as well as dirt and daily dust ... onto ourselves ... head, hair, face, arms, hands, fingers.
As the jingle goes, “At three in the morning when you’re in bed, Gregory and Michael, covered in white pastry flour like dust, look like Holsum Bakers baking bread.
Five O’Clock AM.
Gregory (whispered,) “Michael. Are you sleeping?”
Gregory, “Have you noticed?”
Gregory, “Nothing is chirping.”
Michael (laughing,) “Good Night.”
Gregory (laughing,) “Good Night”
Amazing how our electronics have come to support our busy life style.
January 6, 2008