Kiss Your Brain

Note: I can’t take credit for the title phrase. One of my friends who’s an elementary teacher often tells her students to kiss their brains when they make a connection or do something smart. (I oddly have several teacher friends.)

Ok, you know how smoke detectors always choose the middle of the night to do that charming beeping thing? Not the sound that tells you there’s a fire. The one that makes you think it’s just a random, isolated, annoying beep and then happens again right as you’re drifting back to sleep. It’s adorable, right?

Well there I was enjoying a lovely dream about something I can’t recall when that beeping appeared. In my dream. And in my dream, we worked to figure it out, finally deciding on the smoke detector. My subconscious is such a little smarty pants!

Then I woke up.

And I was like, phew! Now I can go back to sleep and dream something new without that whole beeping business.

Then the beep happened in real life. And while I was briefly intrigued by the whole dream/reality thing. I was also bummed I was going to have to get out of bed and deal with it.

In a random display of preparedness, (what earthquake kit?) I keep nine volt batteries on hand for just such an occurrence.

Since this apparently only ever happens in the middle of the night – at least to me – I’ve never figured out the logistics with anything less than a foggy, disgruntled state of mind. Which makes every time feel like the first time.

I can’t be the only one who’s ever ripped a smoke detector off the ceiling only to have it keep making that incessant noise. It’s like Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart. I’m pretty sure that’s why I impulsively bought the batteries one day. Because I knew they were the only way to fix it.

My first step was to push the reset button. I think that worked once. It didn’t this time.

So there I was teetering on a step stool trying to unscrew the detector from the ceiling and of course the battery compartment was hidden because it’s a newer model. But you can’t give up because the beep won’t let you. The beep needs to stop. In the model I have, the battery compartment swings out on the side but doesn’t apparently completely open. Then you have to squeeze the old battery out, and it’s like getting out of the back seat of a two door car. Next you realize you didn’t technically unplug the battery from any wires, you just popped it out of its compartment. You’re not sure how this whole thing is going to work out.

You briefly consider licking the old battery because that’s what you used to do as a child. But you’re still tired and annoyed and so decide it’s not time to see if the battery is still good, because if it is, it’s just going to piss you off.

So you work to cram the new battery in exactly how you removed the old one. It sort of clicks into place. Enough for you to close the compartment. The triumphant feeling rises up your back. You consider punching the air and jumping off the step stool onto your bed.

And then it beeps again.

I’m sorry, what?! You give it a dirty look. You wonder if – in your tiny apartment – a working smoke detector is really that necessary. Then you think you probably shouldn’t think and/or ever say that in the presence of your mom, who is really big into all of her kids checking their smoke detectors whenever they change your clocks.

You can’t imagine how else to fix the problem, so you hit the reset button and cross your fingers.

You briefly wonder why your neighbors aren’t running over during this test of your smoke detector in the wee small hours of the morning because, um, WHAT IF I WAS ON FIRE?!

Then the test stops and you tiptoe down the step stool as if not wanting to disturb the sleeping baby that’s become your smoke detector. You move the stool slightly out of the way of the exit, and then climb into bed. (No reason to gloat now, with that whole jumping business.) You lay there tense for a minute waiting for the beep. And when it doesn’t come, you go back to sleep.


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