Sunday 26 January 2014

Sensory perceptions of silencing smoke alarms

A clarion to slumber
When I first heard the sound, it was like my mind was playing with me, I came from deep within my slumber at the point where the effects of my medication were beginning to exhibit that stoned feeling. It was just after 2:00AM
Then as someone who regularly sleeps with lights on and sound in the background, I began the process of elimination, trying to determine where the sound was coming from.
There was no urgency, yet my life could have depended on it as I checked my phones and pressed a button; the sound stopped. It was not another minute before the sound started again and it still did not occur to me in my half wakened state that it could be more serious.
Like a cricket hunt
In my mind, I thought I was the source of the annoying sound, so as I moved around the room as if to echo-locate the source of the sound, I pressed the power button on my laptop and the sound stopped momentarily before it started again. This time I switched off the laptop and it began to dawn on me something more serious was afoot.
The sound very much like the chirping of a cricket and those who know, know that it is nigh on impossible to locate a cricket in a room by its chirping sound, except if you are dog-eared.
That might be an alarm, I thought, so I phoned reception and no one picked up the phone, my heightened senses now primed for escape, I dressed up for the cold, and properly dressed and presentable I was, as I grabbed my cane and my hat and stepped out of my room, not forgetting my hotel room key.
Comforted I was
Located on a mezzanine floor and at the very end of a long corridor, I had earlier noted where the fire escapes were, I would be descending 6 floors in total, but I was comforted by the sight of a uniformed member of staff at the other end of the corridor, making it down the stairs.
No one seemed to be in panic mode as they called the lift, but I needed to be sure it was not my senses playing games with my reasoning. I hailed the security man and he assured me there was nothing wrong, that I could return to bed.
Not by half, I do not sleep that well to have my sleep disrupted so flippantly that I could roll over and shut eye back into slumber-land at the flick of a switch, neither was my mind ready for work, I had to step out.
You don’t say
Apparently, a guest, (Room 318?) whilst having a shower and how it adds up escapes me, there was a leak which entered the fire alarm system in the room below and yes, it was the fire alarm that went off when I was pressing keys in my room thinking the sound was centred on my own little world.
What was more upsetting was the realisation that I did not realise that it was a fire alarm and that I should have gotten out of my room at the earliest opportunity to safety.
My reflex, my conditioning, my alertness all deprecated by reason of medication and almost being too smart for myself. This requires a radical readjustment in my conditioning. Strangely, I have a way to compensate for this kind of situation, I know now that when I hear this sound, I should err on the side of caution, thinking it is warning of a fire before I start engaging my brain in the stupid exercise of endangering myself.
Alright now
One can rationalise and beat oneself up afterwards, but there are things you do not trifle with, fire alarms, for instance.
As for sleep, maybe in another hour, I would have had that before this gets published because, this was first drafted away from the hotel at about 4:30AM.

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