Unpublished Opinion

Monday, July 18, 2005

What is that beeping!?!?!

When I returned home from my 5 mile run yesterday, E said that he had heard a high-pitched beeping sound and thought maybe it was his cell phone and me trying to reach him. I sort of ignored him at that point about the stupid beeping. Mostly because I was hot and he had greeted me at the door with the "helpful" comment "Wow you look really red." No, really? I didn't know. Thanks for the tip.

Anyway, later on, I came out into the living room and heard the beeping. We tried to find the source, checking the obvious places: appliances, watches, cell phone, cordless phone. No luck. I started to unplug things and then listen and would hear it again. BEEP! Looked under couch. BEEP! Then I recognized the beep as sounding like the smoke alarm when the battery is low. (one time when I still lived at home we had a spider that was crawling back and forth over the test button, causing it to beep and the sound recalled that memory). Assured I had cracked the mystery, I climbed onto a chair and removed the battery. I listened. BEEP! Damn. "Maybe it is just telling us now that there is no battery," I offered. E looked at me in such a way that I realized the own stupidity of my comment and replaced the battery.

I decided to time the length of dead air between beeps in order to ascertain whether it was electronic, assuming that if the beeps were spaced equidistant apart, it was likely some kind of warning or low battery on something. I timed it. 37 seconds between beeps. Keep in mind that before this was all over, I had experienced the beeping for an hour. That is almost 100 beeps. It was torture. The other problem was that the sound kept moving around the room, or so we thought. We were certain that some kind of beeping animal was running around our walls. It is coming from the air conditioner. No it is coming from the bookcase. No it is coming from the kitchen.

Finally we determined it really was coming from the central air unit. But where? Was the sound traveling from the floor below us? I turned the air off and listened. BEEP! I removed the cover. BEEP! I looked around inside. (it was really gross in there and something that I would not recommend, unless you are looking for a renegade beeping thing). I pointed to different things and asked E if they belonged: a gross pipe that looked rusted, some tube covered with hair, etc.

Then I saw it: A little white thing. I pulled it out. It beeped. A water alarm. Which would have been helpful if it had indeed been warning us that water was accumulating within the air unit. Or if we had actually PUT the damn thing there. An alarm is not too useful when you don't know where/what it is. It was not, however, alerting us to any problem other than the fact that its battery was low. I calmly removed the battery, when really I wanted to fling the damn thing across the room. I listened. Silence.

Never have I appreciated quiet so much in my life.


  • that's quite the funny story :-)
    i do remember the spider in the smoke alarm.

    By Anonymous your mommy, at 9:41 PM  

  • that was a good story..i kept waiting to figure out what the beep was...i've had that happen to me before...i know how annoying it is.

    By Anonymous kiki, at 7:36 AM  

  • you make me laugh. Keep the stories coming-please..

    By Blogger kikis' sister, at 8:55 AM  

  • Halfway through your story I really thought you were having the same beeping problem my boyfriend and I had a few months ago. It actually was the smoke detector beeping about its low battery. We didn't have any new batteries so we took the battery out, and it still beeped, protesting its batterylessness. Do these things really have some kind of back-up battery? We tried to find the back-up battery and yank that out, but couldn't. eventually my boyfriend just stomped on the thing.

    By Blogger Kim Plaintive, at 10:43 AM  

  • Happy to hear that someone can verify that it is possible for a smoke detector to continue beeping without the battery. Makes me feel less silly.

    By Blogger Simba's Mom, at 11:39 AM  

  • The missing battery is almost plausible--but if the battery was missing, wouldn't you have heard it beeping before? I suppose someone could have broken in and swiped the fire alarm battery. Your attack cat may have been sleeping.

    E's comment that you look red earns him the master of the obvious designation. Too bad he couldn't figure out where the beeping was coming from.

    By Anonymous BEEEP!, at 12:16 PM  

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