Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Voices in the Dead of Night should be Illegal No Matter How Polite They Sound

During the first night of the NJRW conference, I was awakened by a loud strange sound and a calm but insistent voice. At first I thought it was the alarm clock, but as I began to wake more fully, I realized it was coming from the wrong part of the room.
At that point of semi-conciousness, the word "emergency" cut through my sleep filled haze. The fire alarm was going off.

I squinted at the unreliable alarm clock to see that it was a little after four am. I jumped out of bed. Checked to see that my roommate was doing the same. Shoved on dress shoes and socks. Grabbed my computer bag, room key and coat and hoofed it down the hall and one flight of stairs where many women were lingering in the lobby -in several stages of dress and very interesting outfits and hairdos- looking probably a lot like I did.

My roommate and I were more with it than the lobby lingerers, and we proceeded to exit the building in an orderly fashion to the overhang. Because much safer than inside the building is ten feet from the door.

I noticed that for a conference of about 300 people, there didn't seem to be that many guests out of the building, but I assumed they went out other emergency exits. All of the sleepy-eyed half dressed people milled around, asking the question and postulating hypotheses.

There were several Asian guests with their phones out, videoing all the romance authors in their different states of undress, so who knows, the whole incident may end up on Youtube somewhere.

The police showed up and entered the lobby. They were very cute, by the way. Since they didn't force the lobbyists to vacate the building, we decide it was safe to go back in.

The very polite security guard made the appropriate apologies and we waited for the fire department to give us the all clear to go back to the room. Which they did after about forty minutes.

Tired, but understanding we all trudged back up to our rooms to reset unreliable alarm clocks to squeeze in an extra few minutes of sleep.

At about 5:15, that polite voice and strobe light were back. Roommate and I trudged back down the steps, this time I was not as hard core and didn't save my wips by lugging along my computer. We lingered in the lobby and grumbled with our neighbors about the crappiness of being inconvenienced.

After about twenty minutes, since the fire department was quicker to respond, (probably because they hadn't even gotten back to the station yet) we were sent back to our rooms.

When the alarm went off two more times at six, we didn't even bother. I just got in the shower and started on my day.

We found out later that only the first three floors were affected by the alarm. They said the cause was a guest smoking in their room. At lunch the human resources person from the hotel apologized and there was candy and complimentary bottles of wine on the tables for us.

It made for an interesting day and a tough ride home since we were so exhausted.


Susan Kelley said...

You didn't take pictures? Did you lynch the guest who was smoking?

Ava Quinn said...

No pictures. I didn't bring a camera, and my cell phone actually only makes and receives calls, can you believe it?

I'm not sure if it really was a guest smoking. I have a feeling that's what we were told.But then again, I'm big on conspiracy theories.

Haleine said...

The fire alarm in my college dorm had a penchant for going off at 2am on the weekends when the drunk kids came back from their nights of debauchery. My first priority was always hiding my illegal toaster.

The really funny/scary part is that one time, I may have accidentally set a box of Chinese food leftovers on fire, actually on fire (flaming lo mein anyone??), and the damn alarm never beeped once. Go figure.

Ava Quinn said...

Flaming lo mein!! Sounds so chic nowadays.

The all male dorm next to mine would have the fire alarm go off in the middle of the night pretty frequently. And you'd get to see all the girls trickle out with the guys trying to pretend that they had only been visiting at 3 a.m. not sleeping, which would have been against policy.

Haleine said...


Next to my dorm was a frat house and, for whatever reason, every time it snowed (and in northern Maine it tends to do that a lot), they would strip naked and run around our dorm. Not that I ever checked the forecast so I could make sure I had a good seat for the festivities...that would be wrong...

Ava Quinn said...

Hot damn! Sign me up for the dorm next door!

Love Kpop said...

Winter has returned. I do not like because I can not stand the cold. But wearing loud clothes also quite interesting. I look like a cute bear

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