File Under: Easy Listening
It was 7:30 in the ayem when I heard a piercing beeping sound coming from the living room/dining room/kitchen/office. My roommate, MJ, was already up, inspecting the source of the noise. It wasn't the smoke detector, which she discovered only after she hoisted herself up on a ladder to check the battery status (yes, even though we are lacking in a vacuum cleaner, we do have a step ladder). The sound was coming from the carbon monoxide detector.
Okay. MJ asks me what to do. I dunno, I just woke up. MJ calls 311 and asks them what to do. 311 goes into emergency mode and calls the fire department over to our apartment. At 7:40, approximately, I hear sirens approaching the block. I went down the five flights of stairs to greet the firemen. Several of them stay behind in the truck and three of them follow me up the stairs, emergency gear in tote.
"What floor do you live on?" One of them asked me after we climbed three flights.
"See, Larry, it's always the fifth floor. Even though her apartment number is 27, she lives on da fifth floor."
When we finally reached the apartment, the men crowded into the multipurpose room, panting as they set down their gear. With all of their tanks and life ropes and bags, the apartment felt very cramped. MJ was sitting with the beeping detector.
"That's beeping, not buzzing," the lead fireman informed us, "you just need a new battery that's all."
I escorted the men out of the building, offering an apology at every floor, even though they assured me that it was 311's fault, not ours. And yeah, that little stunt probably cost all New York tax payers about $100, apologies.