In the beginning …
… it was cold.
A chilly night in the cave? Turn on the heat? Not so much. Throw a few extra mammoth skins on maybe and a good bit o’ snuggling … but that heat thing was still just a dream. The nightly festive gatherings around the central camp pile-o-rocks were somehow a let down. Couldn’t really see each other and the rocks just did not really warm the tootsies all that much. Then one day Jed Cavepit was throwing some spears at a yummy bit o’ something to eat, and flash-bang-what-the-hell-was-that? there before him was this bright glowy flickery thing that made a good bit of ow but definitely warmed the tootsies. The next thing you know we had the first energy baron, and …
Now this fire thing turned out to be slightly useful. It sort of caused that whole ‘humans becoming the most successful parasite on the planet’ thing (with a little help from the wheel and the lever). But it had a slight drawback. It tended to burn things. Warming the tootsies is all well and good, but if in the process you burned down the house it kind of loses its appeal. But not to worry. We are a pretty clever bunch of parasites. So one day somebody had the bright idea of creating a really obnoxious thing that would gladly shriek at the top of its lungs: “The house is burning down guys! Better do something about it!!”
And so we had the first smoke detector.
Smoke detectors have a few unique properties. They are guaranteed to be loud. They are designed to screech at that exact tone that goes right up your spine (no doubt by the same people who created Styrofoam and black boards). And they have a built-in feature that ensures that they frequently go off at the wrong time completely.
So there I am actually sleeping soundly in my bed for a change. Right outside my door? You guessed it. A ‘you have to have one of these or you can’t live in the house’ smoke detector. The kind that plugs right into the house.
But for some reason has a battery too.
Now as far as I can tell, the sole purpose of said battery is to ensure that once every seven years or so, that clever little device randomly goes off at say … 130 in the morning when everyone is pleasantly asleep. That day came the other night. As I said, I was soundly asleep when the fire alarm went off twice, then repeatedly beeped to say, “yo why you not listening?”
I of course slept through the whole thing. I was a bit peeved to be awakened by my mother’s fairly quiet voice though when she pleadingly asked me to shut the damn thing off. Fortunately it was in easy reach for me being right outside my door. Unfortunately I don’t have a degree in smoke-detector-ology. After fifteen minutes of trying to unplug the thing while it sweetly screeched in my ear, my mother remembered that it had instructions. Another fifteen minutes to actually decipher the instructions, and at last an eerie silence reigned.
Technology saves the day once again!