Had to make a quick trip down to southern California to see my doctor, also to grab what I could from the storage unit. On the way down I stopped at the Coso Junction rest stop to toss some pork rinds to the resident ravens, which they LOVED. They hopped around jamming as much as would fit into their beaks. Also wandering amongst them in fine 'Which Does Not Belong' style was this little guy:
completely ignored the ravens and the people who glanced his way and
then did a double take. He just dashed around grabbing bugs out of the
grass, perfectly happy.
Further down the road at Kramer Junction was this poor Arco sign, twisted and thrashed by the wind.
Somewhere along the line I left this little guy, who's crazy eyeballs were a happy accident and go with the quote perfectly.
finally got into town and checked into my hotel, where I stayed on the
8th floor. Driving for 10 hours is tiring, so I was sleeping like a
dead thing when I awoke to the clock radio's alarm, I'd drawn the
blackout curtains so the room was full dark as I groggily sat up and
reached for the radio.
It wasn't the radio making that noise.
Only one other thing in a hotel shrieks like that. The fire alarm.
soon as I realized what it really was, and remembered that I was on the
8th floor, all my best cuss words started flowing. It's 5AM and I was
more irritated than anything at first, griping, 'Of course. Of COURSE
this would happen now' as I stumbled around trying to do all the right
things you are supposed to do in a fire.
Looked out the window
and listened. I DID hear a fire truck siren wailing, great. But don't
see any flames or smoke. OK, that side of the hotel is likely not
involved, that fact filed away in my head. I went to the door and felt
it--it wasn't hot and no smoke was issuing from under it. I stood
behind the thing and gently cracked the door, ready to slam it shut
again. Nothing except the hallway fire alarms also screaming their
brains out and the strobe light flashing. The hallway is murky with something
hanging in the air, which is good enough for me, I'm outta here. No one
else is around. I go to the phone and press the 'emergency'
button...and get a recording which says cheerfully, 'Your session has
expired' whatever the Hell that means in an emergency. When you think death is threatening you, 'expired' isn't the first word you want to hear.
I break the world record for getting dressed and cramming my few things
into my overnight bag. I grab everything and go back into the hallway,
which by now is quiet and there STILL aren't any people around. Either
everyone else is already out or they aren't bothering to evacuate. I
decide to get my tail downstairs and after looking out the two hallways
windows for signs of fire below, decide to chance the elevator, which
The lobby is quiet and no one is running around on
fire and screaming, so I go to the front desk and inquire as to whether
there is REALLY a fire on the 8th floor.
The guys actually laughs
and says casually, 'Oh no, that's just the fire alarms in room 820 and
825--the steam from the showers sets off the room alarms and then if it
gets into the hall the entire floor goes off.'
Oh. Ha, ha. How
perfectly droll and amusing. Someone a few doors away from my room
takes a hot shower and the fire system goes batshit.
laughing, and by now the adrenaline has well and truly kicked in and I'm
shaking. I ask him how often this happens and he says that he's worked
there for 6 months and it happens 1-2 times each and every week.
He says, 'We're working with the fire department' because by now he's caught on that
I'm NOT pleased and he's seeking to placate me at this point.
I've already had a middle of the night, honest-to-God fire scare in my
own home, complete with a house full of smoke and having to haul my
unresponsive child from her bed, I'm FAR from placatable. They hadn't
even sent an employee up to check and see if it was just the fire alarms
crying wolf, they just assumed it was the steam causing it
again. The guy tells me I can go back up and go back to sleep. Ha, ha.
Noooo, I think I'm awake for the day.
Suffice to say that when I
returned home I emailed the hotel chain and let them know what was going
on at this particular property.