Saturday, July 28, 2007

Where There's Smoke, There's No Fire

An interesting night. Now that's a loaded word in my circle, interesting. If we're not sure how to respond to an inquiry or statement without being derogatory, we say, "interesting." Covers a multitude of possibilities, from the angelic to the absurd. Last night around 2:30 am, I'm awakened by the raucous sound of the smoke detector-again.
Again. As its done each day I've been in my latest bedsitter, whether from burning the toast or my current roomie smoking, at this point the noise is meaningless. I am numb to its cry of wolf. I climb up on the sofabed to hit the reset button. Roomie, whom I have forgotten in my sleep fog exists, sits up and asks what I'm doing. I point at the still clanging smoke detector. He sighs, stands up and removes it from the wall so he can hit the reset button on the inside. Sometimes I envy tall people, being the height of a typical 4th grader myself. But the noise DOES NOT STOP
We look at each other, puzzled. Why isn't it stopping? I call the desk to have maintenance come up but get voicemail. What could that mean? Roomie is still fiddling with the wires on the detector, yanking and detaching various nuts, bolts and screwlooses. I feel like I'm watching the episode of "The West Wing" [20 Hours in America, Part Two] where President Bartlet comments on Josh and Toby missing Air Force One: "Three hundred IQ points between them, they can't find their way home."
Hearing more noise outside, I open the door. People are streaming towards the stairwell. Oh my. It's a for real fire drill, just like in grade school! What fun! Does anyone out there remember the book, "Five Little Firemen"? Everybody grabs their most precious possession: The boys grabs their cat, rabbits and flowers, the mom her pillow, the dad his pipe and the jolly fat good cook slides down a lifeline. I take my car keys, flashdrives and notebooks, your typical female taking her jewels.
Down we go, an odd parade of human flesh. Roomie and I circumnavigate the hotel, speculating on the huddles masses displayed before us. Which groups are families, which friends and what are the dynamics within each group? Who is the leader, the problem child, the foci, the needy one, the troubled, the rock?
I decide I've had enough of this and sit in my car, blasting the stereo. Singing along to Sister Hazel's "Sweet Destiny", I stop because roomie doesn't know the words and his "la la la" annoys me. Our duet is cruel and unusual punishment to anyone within hearing distance, a cacophony which could only be surpassed by that of myself and my brother David or my friend Fran. The disharmony and discord we made was extraordinary. My singing without them surely has them spinning in longing, their bones clanging as if playing a glockenspiel. We put dingoes baying at the moon to shame, we were that loud and that painful. You know what? We didn't care because we made a joyous noise. We were together. Happy.
Getting out of the car, I watch the light show of the fire trucks as from the wrong end of a telescope. What is missing from my life? So much trivia, commentary, lack of balance, perspective. I know that once I had inner harmony although I do not remember the feeling.
The alarms still clang. The moon, aloof, hold court with the stars dancing attendance, bowing and scraping in obeisance. She plays in a Versailles of the heavens and would be amused by the fire alarm if she could hear it.
I stare up at the moon. The night sky has no answer, of course it does not. But I do. I will seize the joyful noise and run with it. Far. Fast. And I will be happy again. Despite everything. I have roads to travel. And all roads lead to roam.

1 comment:

zoesmomdebbie said...

Funny that roomie would try to "fix" the alarm... he, to my knowledge, could not hit a tack with a hammer, hahahaha.