Sunday, 14 November 2010

Alarms Going Off All Over The Place, Including In My Head.

Gah. I haven't slept a wink. So much for having a restful weekend while Max is away. First I have a nightmare, in which I am at work and spot the number 666 tattooed on Greg's head, and then - as soon as I get back to sleep - I'm woken again by a siren going off.

It's so loud that, at first, I think it must be our burglar alarm, but then I realise I didn't switch that on, because Josh was still out clubbing when I went to bed.

He's back home and fast asleep when I stumble through to his room at about 4:00am, though.

"Josh," I say. No reaction whatsoever. And what is that smell?

"Josh! Wake up!"

"Whassat?" says Josh. Finally.

"Alarm," I say. "Not ours, though. Oh, God - unless it's the car alarm?"

"Don't be daft, Mum. The car's not here, is it? Dad's got it."

It's very annoying when your drunken teenage son is more capable of rational thought than you are.

He's not half so quick off the mark when it comes to going to investigate, though: I have to do that. I can't tell where the noise is coming from when I look out of the front door, thanks to the late-night traffic, so I go into the back garden.

Oh, shit, it's Ellen's alarm. I hope she's all right, though now I haven't a clue what to do next. Knowing someone like Steve Ellington causes a certain reluctance to confront burglars, so I just shout, "Ellen? You okay?" - over the garden wall.

There's no reply, so then I go back inside, and phone the Police. They say they'll be there as soon as they can, but that most units are currently in Northwick's nightclub quarter. (Also known as Beirut at this time of night.)

"Well, please hurry," I say. "My neighbour's a single woman and often on her own at weekends, so I'm worried about what's happening, though I don't really want to risk going into the house myself."

The alarm's still sounding when I put the phone down, so God knows why Ellen hasn't turned it off herself. Something must have happened to her.

"Stop panicking," says Josh. "She's probably come in pissed and set it off herself before passing out in a corner somewhere. Just phone her up."

But there's no answer when I call Ellen's landline, so then I find her mobile number and try that instead. I can barely hear the ringing tone - and not just because of the alarm. My heart sounds as if it's relocated to the inside of my head.

"Uh. Hello? Who is this?" says Ellen. "And do you know what time it is?"

"Oh," I say. "Ellen, it's me. Molly."

"Christ! What are you doing calling me now?" Ellen doesn't sound like someone who's in fear of her life, though maybe I should be fearing for mine, given her snotty tone.

Then she says something else, but I can't hear her properly.

"Sorry, what did you say?" I ask.

"I wasn't talking to you," she says. Oh, I see. There's someone else there.

Honestly, I don't think Ellen has any appreciation of what it takes to be a good neighbour. She barely bothers to listen while I try to explain about her alarm, then just tells me to instruct the Police to disable it.

"I'm away this weekend," she says. "Won't be back 'til this evening." I'm sure she giggles as she hangs up.

I'm not finding it half as funny as she seems to be, especially when it takes until almost 10:00am for the Police to turn up and establish that there hasn't been a break-in.

It takes even longer to switch the damned thing off, as it turns out that one of the policemen will have to force entry to gain access. I don't think Ellen is much nicer to him than she was to me when he rings to seek her permission.

"So sorry to have disturbed you, Ma'am," he says, in a very sarcastic tone of voice. He'd do well in our office. The ability to be rude via excessive politeness is an essential part of the job.

Anyway, now it's lunchtime and I'm so bloody knackered that I should think I'll be asleep well before Max gets home tonight. I wonder what time Ellen will be back from wherever it is that she's been? She'll need to get that window re-glazed as soon as she is.

It's just typical that, on the one night that there's an emergency at her house, Max is away and I have to deal with it single-handedly. Though Max will probably say that it's just an unfortunate coincidence. Not that they happen half as often as some constituents would have you believe. Oh. Bloody, bloody hell.

It can't be normal for a heartbeat to be this loud.


  1. Inspired stuff recent posts, Midwife. Some of the slow burning jokes are priceless.


  2. Piers, thank you very much. Though are you saying my life is a slow-burning joke?! (It occasionally feels like that...)

  3. Nooo, mine's the slow burning joke. In possession of sufficient ex-wives to maintain this state (enough to fill a chest freezer, since you ask).

    Have horrible fascination with how Boss/Trish/Vicky/Max/Ellen tapestry is going to unravel. In a rare moment of cultural reading (Plato's Republic: failed to finish; Grisham beckoned) nodded appreciatively at Sophocles' comment on age and no longer feeling the need to chase the ladies: [it's like] "being unchained from a lunatic."

  4. Why, why, why don't I read intellectual stuff any more? I may buy a copy, highlight the Sophocles comment and send it to my Dad ;-) Do you think he'd take the hint?

  5. Just point him in the direction of a certain leper-strewn bridge to the covered market in Bangkok; that'll put a dent in his tuk-tuk. Or, if its a real hint you're after, airlift him a crate of your Complan, care of his lady friend.