They Watch, They Know

Lurking in our homes, sucking greedily from the outlets or slowly draining batteries, they are sentient.  How else can we describe the electronic devices in our lives that know when to shuffle off this digital coil?  For the past week since the 8000lb gravel project I’ve been fighting some kind of full-body flu, an insidious virus that renders my muscles creaky and frail, my bones and joints sore and swollen, even my eyeballs loathe to roll in their sockets.  The smoke alarm in our house must know this, maybe it can sniff out the illness like a wolf eyeing a herd of caribou for the likely prey.  Why else would it choose to run low on batteries at 5 am, early enough to ruin a chance for a straight-through night of sleep, late enough to preclude falling back asleep?


It sends out a warning call, a taunt.  Come fix me!  [chirp]  Even though my battery will last another several weeks, I’m going to do this every [chirp] fifteen seconds, so you get lulled into thinking that [chirp] I’m going to stop, only to be yanked back from [chirp] the precipice of sleep.


As I lay awake taking stock of the various aches in my body, I imagine how it would feel to pad down the cold hall in bare feet, reach up to extreme height to unscrew the smoke alarm from its corpse-grey plastic bracket from the ceiling and hurl it against the wall in a red-fog rage that would transform it back into particles of its prime elements.  This would wake up Toddler Harbat.  And my wife.  Then I would have three people with a red-fog rage.  Probably not the best solution.


  1. Argh! I totally hear you on this one. Ours is doing this right now and it is in a place I can’t easily get to without the use of a ladder. Said ladder is nowhere to be seen and hubby is out of town until tomorrow. Needless to say I’ve had to sleep with some kind of background noise to drown it out.

    I hope you are feeling better soon and are able to get some rest.

  2. No! You were right the first time! These insolent appliances must be taught a lesson.

  3. Babs said:

    At least you were able to quickly locate the source. Remember the hours padding around the house listening and trying to locate the source–not realizing initially it was the smoke detector? Also–noting that the chirping sound had an uncanny way of bouncing it’s sound off various walls to fool us in terms of locating it’s origin?? Aaaargh–a baseball bat may be the best alternative…or batteries.

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