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9/15/09
On Alarms

I set the house alarm off today. Normally, I'm pretty good about it, but every now and then I forget that it's on and try to open the back door before disarming it. This, as you may well guess, creates a lovely 120 decibel WHOOP-WHOOP-WHOOP sound that scatters cats, startles the neighbors, and makes me yell profanity as I trip over furniture in my haste to get over to the control panel to turn it off. (Sometimes, if it's early in the morning and I'm not 100% awake yet, I have the added benefit of almost peeing on myself. It hasn't happened yet, but I've come close a couple of times).

Anyway, 99 times out of a hundred, I remember to punch in the code first, but today I was distracted with my lecture to the esteemed Ms. Bella about possibly making better choices regarding inner-household cat relationships, and I just went and threw open the door without thinking about it. Sure enough, the alarm went off, I slammed the door (too late now!), yelled a not nice word, tripped over the freaked out cat, crashed into the kitchen chairs, stubbed my toe, yelled another not nice word, limped over to the control panel in the living room and punched in our code. Then, grabbing a paper towel to staunch the bleeding from the missing toe that was back in the kitchen where I'd left it wrapped around the base of the chair leg, I hobbled over to wait by the phone for the call.

(Our alarm is monitored by one of those 24/7 companies who calls to make sure that you're just a moron who sets off her alarm by accident as opposed to a moron who is being robbed at gunpoint. The way it works is that the alarm goes off, they call you to make sure you're okay and to get your secret password, and then have a good laugh at your expense later in the break room. The other alternative is that they call, you don't answer or you give them the wrong password, they call the cops, and then they and the cops laugh at you later from their respective break rooms).

It always takes the alarm company a few minutes to call. I know this, but I still stand there by the phone, waiting for it to ring and imagining them replaying the taped conversation during the annual Christmas Party "Best of" blooper section. ("Yes, yes, it's me...no, I'm fine...false alarm on the deranged ax murderers...yes, I forgot and opened the back door again...yes, again...I'm sorry.") And as much as I enjoy the thought of the alarm company snickering at me whenever I set the alarm off by accident, that's nothing compared to my paranoia about forgetting security password.

The longer it takes for the phone to ring, the more convinced I become that I'm going to accidentally give the alarm company the wrong password. I don't know why. It's not like it's a hard password to remember, or that we have 5 billion different passwords and I might give them the wrong one. In fact, it's been the same password for years. Not to mention I'm the one who picked it out. And it's not like Tony is going to secretly call them up and change the password and not tell me. But as the seconds tick by, I find myself going, Is that it? That's it, right? Do I have time to call Tony and confirm it? No, if they call and the line is busy, they'll think there's a problem. That IS the password, right? Is it? IS IT?!? Oh no, what if I give them the wrong password and they think I'm being held against my will and this is a secret cry for help and they deploy the SWAT team and the FBI and Homeland Security and they all come roaring up in their emergency vehicles with the sirens and the flashing lights and all the neighbors crowd around only to find out that nothing's wrong except for the fact that I'm a complete and total doofus? What if they fine me for taking up valuable resources? What if they arrest me and drag me off to jail for calling in a false report? What if all the ax murderers who couldn't get into my house because of the alarm are just waiting for me there in the prison? What if-

What's that commercial for the alarm company say? They give you peace of mind?

1 comment:

rediscovery said...

And now I'm sitting here wondering if I remember my security alarm password correctly. Thanks.