I stayed in a hotel this past weekend, while doing three performances of Mother Load and speaking at Project Mom in Dallas. All of which was a great time. I got to bed a little too late on Saturday night, considering my 6:30 am wakeup call to get back to the airport, but after all that activity, I fell asleep quickly and soundly. Without any of the kids with me for middle-of-the-night visits, I figured, it would at least be a blissful six hours’ rest.
After what felt like three minutes, I was awoken by a droning, insistent EHH- EHH- EHH–
which I assumed was my alarm clock. God that was a short night, I thought groggily. Then I looked at the clock. It was only 1:30. And it wasn’t my alarm clock making the noise.
The sound, whatever it was, was coming from inside my air conditioner, one of these forced-air type things you see in your typical pretty-good hotel. Why the hell would that have an alarm in it? I wondered, as I powered it down. That’s annoying. It stopped as soon as I turned it off, at least. I took that trip to the bathroom one always takes when you’re up in the middle of the night anyway, and while I was in there,
EHH- EHH- EHH.
It started up again.
Now I was annoyed. I went back in the room, turned it on, turned it off again, and the alarm stopped. Ten seconds later, it started up again.
After a few minutes of attempting to ignore it, I called the front desk.
ME: I need you to find me a new room. My air conditioner’s alarm is going off.
FRONT DESK: What do you mean, ma’am?
AIR CONDITIONER: EHH. EHH. EHH.
ME: That’s what I mean.
The air conditioner stops.
FRONT DESK: …It seems to have stopped, ma’am.
ME: Uh-huh. Give it a second.
AIR CONDITIONER: …EHH. EHH. EHH.
The befuddled person at the front desk told me she’d find me another room. I got up and packed everything so I could switch. When I was all ready, shoes and coat over my pajamas, and she still hadn’t shown up, I lay down on the bed to await her arrival.
AIR CONDITIONER: EHH. EHH. EHH.
I turned it off twenty minutes ago, I thought. If it were overheating, it would have cooled down by now. So why’s the alarm still going off?
Then I thought: Because air conditioners don’t have alarms.
Up I leaped out of bed, putting my ear to the unit.
NOT THE AIR CONDITIONER: EHH. EHH. EHH.
The noise was actually coming from outside, through the window above the air conditioner. I had been listening to a car alarm go off for the last half hour. Okay, I was half asleep– and it sounded like an alarm clock, not a car alarm– but I mean, DUH.
I called the front desk back.
ME: Sorry, I don’t need a new room. It’s not my air conditioner.
FRONT DESK: (not sure what I’m talking about) Okay.
ME: It’s a car alarm, which has been going off for the last half hour, which is totally preposterous. It’s probably woken up the entire hotel by now.
FRONT DESK: Oh, no.
ME: I mean, can you go look and see if you might be able to tell whose car it is?
FRONT DESK: (no way) Sure, ma’am, we can take a look.
I went back to bed, seething as the minutes ticked past, listening to this car alarm drone on. Seriously, who would let their car do that all night? I lay there for half an hour, trying to go back to sleep, getting angrier by the moment. Then I jumped up from bed and marched back to the window. If I could figure out which car was going off, I was going to go down there and take matters into my own hands.
I threw open the curtains and looked out the window.
What kind of asshat lets their car alarm go off for over an hour and wake up an entire hotel?
It was MY CAR.
How many lifetimes do you think I’ll need to pay off all that bad karma?