So I have this giant bald place, and it was completely and totally a result of the resort emergency alarm, which apparently was “falsely activated.” Do you know what that means, people? Do you? It means that some punk kid (or obnoxiously immature adult, which I’ll get to another time) pulled the fire alarm lever and ran away. I know this because I work in a high school, and it happens there all the time. Kids think its hee-freakin-larious to interrupt the normal daily activities of several hundred people, which is why I rolled my eyes two years ago when the fire alarm went off during the lunch period while I was teaching a 9th grade English class. Schools don’t have fire drills during lunch, so it had to be a prank. I told my kids we’d be back in within minutes, and we all left our stuff behind without a second thought. Except it was real, and within 24 hours the building was a shell, and all that “stuff” we left inside was either crispy or completely waterlogged from the fire hoses. So you can imagine my panic last Tuesday evening when the alarm sounded. Shaking, I held my frightened daughter and whispered in her ear (“That’s a fire truck,” “Look at the clouds,” “Can you hear the ocean?”) while I nervously watched emergency vehicles surround our hotel.
And then I read this little sign in the elevator the next day: “Please help us. If you see anyone tampering with the fire alarm pulls, please alert the front desk immediately.” Since the little sign didn’t read, “We apologize for the inconvenience, but our alarm system was being tested,” or “We are sorry for the alarm scare–the system malfunctioned but has been repaired,” or even, “Your safety is our biggest concern. A _____ (gas leak, grease fire, terrorist, swarm of killer bees) was reported and evacuation was necessary,” I can only assume resort personnel had nothing to do with the alarm and were simply looking for some unknown culprit to arrest (did you know pulling a fire alarm in jest is a federal offense?). This made me furious–12 year classroom veteran sick of immature little teenage brats furious. I wanted to find the little jerk and go all teacher on his ass.
And then the alarm went off again on Thursday morning.
In the morning.
While my daughter was sleeping.
While I was sleeping.
No longer was I feeling the anger of a sick-and-tired teacher. Now I was pissed in the way only a mother can be pissed, and as I scooped my sleeping baby up onto my shoulder and covered her head with a blanket and joined the sleepy masses stumbling down the stairs, I glared at anyone who dared make a noise near me or who came remotely close to bumping into my sleeping kid. You see, Mia is a late-to-bed, late-to-wake sleeper, and it doesn’t matter how early I get her up, she is still late-to-bed. The difference is that if she has to wake up early, she wakes a totally different child–a child with a serious anger-management problem and a penchant for hurling objects and screaming. I didn’t want to spend the day with that child. And so I lay down on a dew-covered lawn chair and held her and muttered curses at whoever thought it would be cute to see hundreds of resort patrons milling around in their jammies at 5:45.
I’d love to tell you there is a satisfying ending to this tale–that the resort security guys found the alarm puller and held him/her screaming for mercy over a ravenous shark just beyond the breakers. Or, you know, something equally appropriate. But if anyone was apprehended they never told the rest of us, and that’s probably a good thing, because I can only imagine what I might have done had I come across the little brat. And believe me, I can definitely imagine…
No, the real ending is this (and some of you will roll your eyes and think, “Why did I bother, that’s not a real ending,” and to you I say, “Hey, no one forced you to read this post!”): MY KID SLEPT THROUGH THE ENTIRE THING. Through the screaming kids running around, and the old man who took a piss in the bushes just a few feet away from us, and the alarm sounding continually, and the fire truck sirens, and the sunrise. She never even opened her eyes, and when we went back up to our room and I put her back in bed she curled up and sighed contentedly like she’d been sleeping there the whole time. So now when she wakes up after a 37 minute nap because the cat meowed at the other end of the house, I want to look at her and say, “WTF, kid? You slept through a 45-minute EMERGENCY EVACUATION! GO BACK TO SLEEP!”