Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Diurse Alarums

It was the most perfect Spring day last week and I’d even managed to get off work relatively early to enjoy the sunshine. I had a vague notion of sitting in the back garden with cats for company and the trills of the resident blackbird washing away a day’s worth of work bullshit.

Stepping off the bus, I walked ten yards into the housing estate to hear a wailing:

“Oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no…”

Even the fucking burglar alarms are afraid in this estate.

I think it’s either loneliness from being left companionless all day, or else the designers of the damned things are subliminally building into them their own paranoia about people rifling through their CD collections.

What kind of burglar alarm goes “Oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no” for fuck’s sake?

I heard it again today, when home on the mythical flexi-day (ironically, introduced to give the worker a rest from working; instead I mow grass and stick tiles onto walls for hours and hours) and I stepped outside the back door for a moment to fetch something. I can image one of those Disney-animated teapots shrieking in terror, its four-fingered hands held over its mouth in horror: “Oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no!”

The wind was gusting, so the alarm obviously thought there was a break-in. The trouble is that the person who owns the alarm suffers from a number of deficits in relation to their trusty alarm system. 1. The alarm goes off with a gust of wind. 2. It would be a laughable alarm if it wasn’t for… 3. It doesn’t switch off until the owner comes home from work at whatever time in the evening.

We’ve had troubles with our own alarm system recently, but at worst the outdoor siren switches off after a relatively short period, leaving the indoor siren giving it socks. We also went to the trouble of having the alarms people come out and fix the problems as soon as could be managed. But this resident either hasn’t figured out why his neighbours aren’t talking to him, or (like me), finds nothing unusual in the fact the neighbours don’t talk to him.

Do you phone the Gardai whenever you hear a burglar alarm? Me neither.

If he got a recording of a blackbird and played this through the alarm box I could listen to it all day without complaint. I’d even enjoy the confusion of the local bird trying to find his new enemy.

If the wind comes around much this Summer, it’s going to be a long one.

3 comments:

Angh said...

“Oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no-oh-no…”
Even the fucking burglar alarms are afraid in this estate.

Hee hee hee....I remember a panic alarm being inadvertantly set off by my travel companion in our rented house in Borris, Co. Carlow some years back. She had set her bag upright near the door in her bedroom, pushing it with her foot to make it align with the wall. A blaring "ooooo-eeee-ooooo-eeee" split the night...she ran for me in the second bedroom, as I was emerging to see what the hell the racket was, and we ran down the stairs, where the ooooo-eeee was even louder, as we were close to the front door which was conveniently still open. Outside not only was there the same head banging ooooo-eeee going on, but a flashing blue light was illuminating the front garden, and most of the village.

We ran back inside and looked to the power panel just inside the front door.
It was surely an alarm, as there was a convenient programming keypad furnished within for the home owner.

Being foolish renters, I fumbled with the control panel while my friend ran for the landlady, who was just next door in the pub she owned. We had been in town about 20 minutes.

The landlady came ambling up the walk behind my panic stricken friend and in the flashing light I started to giggle...seeing the big grin on the landlady's face.

"Do y'think the town knows now that the American women have landed?"

She laughed and hurried into the house. It only took seconds for her to punch in the appropriate SHUT UP codes, and peace was restored to Borris. You never know how quiet a rural town really is until that relentless "ooooo-eeee" proves what noise is really about.

She assured us this was not the first time it had happened and apologised for not pointing out the key in the bedroom. Of course my friend and I felt like fools, but geez, we'd never have guessed at such an elaborate system in a cozy wee cottage. We were from rural Idaho, where the only alarms we knew bark until we yell, "Be quiet, you dumb bastard." If the dogs don't shut up, THEN we reach for the gun with one hand and dial 911 with the other.

I told my companion I'd never let her forget her little debut event; and I never have.

The house we were renting belonged to the parish priest, and the Panic Alarm got tripped when she shoved her pull case next to a large foot operated brass key by the bedroom door.

fitz said...

Get up a ladder and disconnect the external alarm box.

Small wire snips should do it.

Bet he won't even notice...

Willie_W said...

As I came into the house this evening and the warning beeper was telling me the alarm was going to go off ANY MINUTE NOW, I reflected, as I picked up the mail from the floor, put down my bag, kicked a stray jingly cat toy into the corner and THEN put in the alarm code, that I could have had the video, TV, digital TV box, DVD player, and quite possibly the entire suite of furniture and maybe the lightbulbs out the door before the alarm actually went OFF.