Remember when I moved into my new place and the smoke detector in the unit below me kept beeping once a minute because its battery was low? You don’t? Well, here’s the link. And here’s a confession: that smoke detector has been beeping for the last three months.
Yes, I know, you all must think I am a crazy woman for letting it go on this long. The rest of you are wondering how low the battery really could be if it’s been beeping once a minute for three months (and probably longer since it was beeping before I moved in). In my defense, the beeping wasn’t that annoying. If I had the TV on or if I was listening to music, I couldn’t hear it. And even when I was lying in bed at night, it wasn’t that loud. I’ve actually gotten used to it. The only embarrassing thing has been when friends or family are over and I have to try to explain why I hadn’t stopped the beeping, which would require delving far too deep into my personality flaws and avoidance issues than I like to in mixed company.
I did make several attempts to stop the beeping. Due to the way my complex is set up, there is not just one maintenance man for all the apartments, so it was difficult to figure out who to call. I did try contacting the company I believe was responsible for the unit below me, twice, but never got a response from them. I briefly considered throwing a brick through the window of the back door and letting myself in, but talked myself out of it. Then this week, I got the contact info for someone else who might be able to get into the apartment and was planning on contact them when…the beeping stopped!
I literally just noticed it, right now at 2:00pm. It’s harder to notice the absence of something than it is to notice something, but my spidy-sense started to tingle, just like it does when I haven’t seen my cats for awhile. I looked at my watch, waited a long minute, and there was no BEEP! So, either the battery has finally, FINALLY, died as it has been threatening to do for the last quarter of the year, or someone finally entered the apartment and changed the damn battery. Which goes to show, if you ignore a problem long enough it will fix itself.
This incident says more about me than it does about the length of time it takes for a battery to finally DIE. I’ve noticed that if a problem requires me to deal with another individual, I will never solve said problem if I can find a way to work around it. At my old job, there were times when I’d have to contact IT or someone in another department to—God forbid—DO SOMETHING for me, and it stressed me out every time. If there was a way to get the work done without asking for help, I would find it, even if it took 10 times longer. I did get better at asking for help, if only because the mySQL database on my Macbook Pro got unbelievably frakked up, but it still makes me kind of queasy. I don’t like asking people to do things for me. I’d rather do them myself. This is why I will wander around the hardware store looking for wall hooks instead of simply asking an employee what aisle they are on. (The corollary being that as soon as you find an employee, you will be standing next to the object you were searching for and look like a moron for asking about something right in front of your face.)
So, that’s why I let the beeping go on for so long. It bothered me less to hear a beep every minute than it did for me to track down someone to change the battery. I know I should get better about asking for help, and in many ways I have. Sometimes you get lucky, though, and avoidance actually works!