On Friday, I called the maintenance men because a smoke detector was beeping in my apartment. On Saturday, the maintenance men came to knock down a wasp nest on the outside of my apartment. On Monday, I called the maintenance men because the fire in our fireplace wasn’t working…until they showed up, and it appeared to be in perfect working order. On Tuesday, I called the maintenance man at school because the rain was leaking through the ceiling into my classroom. Tonight I called the maintenance men…again.
I stepped into my apartment at 4:30. It had been a long day, and I had a headache. As I shuffled down the hallway, I heard a sound I have come to dread – the single, screeching beep of a smoke detector. For the past 3 evenings, I have spent time cleaning my old apartment and was looking forward to finally enjoying a peaceful evening here at the new place. At the sound of that ear-splitting screeching, however, I knew my headache would only get worse. After hearing more sporadic beeping, I walked around the apartment, trying to figure out which one it was…there are 4 of them. At first, I thought it was the one in the hallway, but after a while I decided that it must be the one in Becca’s bedroom. Every time I stood around listening for it, the beeping stopped.
I finally got so frustrated, I called the apartment office. When the short maintenance man showed up, the beeping had stopped completely. He walked around and waited. He replaced the battery. Still no beeping. He left to call “the boss.” There was that annoying beep again! When he returned, he replaced the entire smoke detector and proceeded to wait for about 10 more minutes. Nothing happened, so he left.
Before long, I heard the beep again. With a sigh, I figured I would just have to suffer through it. As I fixed my dinner, the beeps were loudly coming from the living room – not Becca’s room. Maybe we had gotten the wrong smoke detector. After pacing the hallway, I realized that both smoke detectors were beeping. It was like a conversation. “Beeeeeeeeeeeeep!” “Beeeep!” “Beep!” Beeeeeeeeeeep!”
So, once again, I called the maintenance men…this time with the emergency maintenance number. This time, the bald, southern maintenance man showed up. “Ya’ll in the band?” he asked as he moved my guitar and violin to set up his ladder in the living room. “What grade d’ya’ll teach?” he asked as he carried his ladder down the hall to Becca’s room. He replaced the batteries, but the beeping continued. He took the detector completely down from Becca’s room. The living room detector beeped once, and he said, “Now which one was that?” We paced back and forth in silence, looking at each other, hoping it wouldn’t beep again. “I can bring up a plug-in detector for that back room if it’d make you feel better,” he said. He left, and I waited in the stifled silence, hoping the dreaded beeps wouldn’t return.
The maintenance man entered again with a small plug-in detector. He plugged it in, and “Beeeeep!” “Now which one was that?” he declared. We waited, listening. “Beeeeeep!” went the little plug-in detector. “Maybe you should just take that with you,” I said. “I think this place must be haunted…just jokin’!” he said jovially. After several more minutes of silence, he left…and so far, so good. They’ll be returning tomorrow to inspect the wires.
Strange, though…he told me that the man who lived here before never called them up here for any problems. I guess I’m just a maintenance man magnet.