Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Another Submission for the "I Know You Think I Make This Stuff Up" Category

This morning at 4:42AM, I awoke to sirens blaring, strobe lights flashing, and the direction from my husband, "Let's get out--Let's go!"

The hotel fire alarm had been ... detonated, and I was like a hamster trapped in a plastic ball, scurrying like mad but really going nowhere because it took a couple of seconds to remember where in the world I was.

Then I said, "Where's Kristin?!" over the sensory torture because even in the bright blinking lights, I couldn't see her. So I turned again to pull her out of bed, when

our foreheads conked.

We scrambled outside the hotel, where I realized that I was in a long (to the knees) striped nightshirt instead of what I ALWAYS wear to sleep in in hotels because I'm afraid I'll have to go out in the event of a fire and people will see me--exercise pants and a t-shirt.

Except this ONE time in my entire life, of course.

So Jorge ran back in the room (we had a first floor room which had a door to the outside) and brought back my shorts, purse, and Kristin's glasses because the poor thing can't see worth squat on her own.

We waited for a while and were told it was a false alarm. Somehow the phone system in the hotel is connected to the alarm system, and when the phones shorted out, the alarm went off. I'm just glad the sprinklers didn't go off, too. Then I would've been a wet hamster in horizontal stripes.

So we all reentered our rooms and tried to go back to sleep. That is when I realized that my head, where I beat it against Kristin's head like laundry on a river rock, was throbbing.

I went back to sleep for about an hour, and then it was no use to keep trying.

Thus began our day. It's a bummer to realize you've probably had the most exciting event of your day by 4:45AM.

But later we went on a hike in Smoky Mountain National Park to see Laurel Falls and the thing that everyone on the trail but me wants to see: bears.

Yes, I am afraid of bears. And alligators. I have said more than once, "I wish they were dead." Meaning bears and alligators.

Sorry, nature lovers.

Where was I. Oh yes, I wish they were dead.

So, of course, immediately, when we approached the beginning of the trail, a family randomly volunteered to ME, not Jorge or Kristin, "There are lots of bears out there today. We saw triplets and twins and ...."

I stopped listening because I started composing a blog post in my head: "Oh yes, it's another 'I Know You Think I Make This Stuff Up' moment."

But I am not making this up; they pinpointed me to report all of their sightings to in detail.

So I rehearsed again with Jorge what to do if a bear jumps out in front of you on a path and yells, "Turf Warrrr!"

All along the trek, I watched every peripheral movement and listened for rustling, crackling branches.

But I needn't have because three times, we came up on a group of people looking up into the hills, pointing, and telling us we just missed the bears.

I did see a doe and nursing fawn, which is more my speed.

By the end of the hike, I can't believe this, but I was actually a little disappointed that we didn't see the bears. I mean, it's quite a let down to be on five-alarm high alert for just a doe, fawn and tiny little lizard.

But I did end up getting a picture of A bear, which I will post upon my return home.

Home--where if fire alarms go off, it's for a good reason, like I have set it at night and then forgot to turn it off when I open the door for Zoe one last time.

Have you ever had an alarm go off in a hotel or similar situation before?


2Thinks said...

oops, see I'm tired- the comment went off to be posted and I am not done writing it. ...where was I? Uh, when we hiked off to see Laurel Falls, I was also sweating for fear of sighting bear, while everyone else had cameras ready- hoping to reach out and touch one...Yes, I remember that vacation well. I loved the hike and the falls. I've blocked out everything about bears, so I can't remember if we saw one or not at that time....nighty night....If you don't find the first part of the comment, perhaps you shouldn't post this part. I'll check it out tomorrow. Sorry, don't know what happened, of course.

Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

No, but I've seen lots of bears in the Smokeys. :>)

H-Mama said...

not that I recall. this is why people shouldn't go to sleep nekid! scary stuff. alarms and bears. glad you didn't come across any angry mama bears! ;)

MT Nest said...

Twenty-six years ago, we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary with a trip to hell...I mean New Orleans. (I humbly apologize to anyone from New Orleans and pray for the full recovery of that city!)

One night, we were on a streetcar that got stuck on the tracks due to an auto accident. We had to walk back to downtown, and were followed by a man who came out from a dark alleyway. The faster we walked, the faster he walked. We crossed the street, he crossed. He was (loudly) talking to himself. My husband whispered to me that he had a pocketknife. (I cannot tell you the degree to which I felt protected at that time!) When we finally got back to civilization, we ducked into a crowded fast-food place, and our follower went crazy. Shouting, kicking over newspaper stands, hitting out.

Drained, we went back to our hotel. During the middle of the night, the fire alarm went off. Not once, not twice, but THREE different times throughout the night.

We have not been back to New Orleans.

sara said...

LOL!! can always count on you for a laugh! yes, I was in San Antonio for a girls weekend once, on one of the upper floors, when the alarms went off in the middle of the night. out we went into downtown SA, out the door, which when finding out it was a false alarm, we could not get back in. We had to walk around the bldg, we were in the back, at night, in our gowns, to the front of the bldg....for everyone to see!

Mrs. E said...

That just reminds me of college days in the dorm when some blinking idiot would pull the fire alarm in the middle of the night. We staggered down 4 flights of stairs. Always interesting to see who was "visiting" the dorms at 2:30 in the morning.

Hope your head recovers!

Dena said...

We did have that happen once. We were on the 10th floor or something like that and there was smoke on a floor below us and they told us to stay put. I was like 'I don't think so!' So we took off down the stair well to the bottom. By the time we got down it was all over. Some kid had burned (badly) some popcorn in a microwave. Rotten kids.

Deven said...

I was chaperoning a mid-winter youth retreat, and the fire alarm in the girls' dorm went off. We evacuated into the sub-zero outdoors and waited. It was a false alarm, so we all trudged back in....to be awakened again after half an hour. This time, we dragged pillows and blankets with us, walked to the meeting hall, and tried to get some sleep in there.

We found out later that the fire alarms kept going off because of the extreme cold.

Mocha with Linda said...

Yes, and I was way up high on the umpteenth floor. But they immediately knew it was a false alarm. We didn't have to evacuate.

Hope your head's okay. I get worried now when I hear people conking their heads.

And I'm totally with you on lions and alligators and bears, oh my!

samurai said...

I am glad to hear that it was a false alarm. Bummer about the hike...

Kay said...

Yes we had that happen to us once. Thankfully we were staying at a hotel where the rooms open up to a center atrium that extends all the way up and my hubby stepped out in the hallway and could see the employees scrambling to disable the false alarm and tell everyone they could stay in their rooms. It was deafening and my daughter never woke up. And we never went back to sleep! And then to get asked at breakfast if we had a good night. Um.. no. And yes, I always think about what I'm wearing to bed in hotels too... 'just in case'. : )

Tabi said...

I promise, I'm not laughing at you at all. Nope. Hehehehe

Anonymous said...

Oh my word! You poor things! I wouldn't have been able to go back to sleep either. And here you were in a tired stupor wandering the hills with rogue bears stalking passers by! That doesn't sound like a vacation. better come back here and make a run to sonic for a pina colada slushy and sit in your backyard with your feet in a blow up pool. At least it would be relaxing!

Debbie @Like a Rose said...

Nope, really, this stuff only happens to you!

Are you hiking up to Clingman's Dome while you're there? It would be another "bear" opportuinity

Greg C said...

Lions and Tigers and Bears. Oh my. This could only happen to you. Sorry you didn't see any bears on your trip. I did have a fire alarm go off once in a hotel but just like yours it was a false alarm. I am actually glad it was. As for the alligators, there is a 12 ft one right out in front of my office if you want a photo of it.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

No, only you Linda would encur alarms blasting at your hotel.

This is a riot as always...

And your fear of bears turning to disapointment to not see one...now that's something. :-)

skoots1mom said...

i'm w/ u...i like pictures of bears but care NOTHING about encountering one...i like my life and my face the way they are...i'm content with deer and lizards. the mtns offer a lot of variety. i'm more into looking at the plant life, and i love waterfalls.

i grew sick of fire alarms when i worked in a 47-story tower for 18 years...we had quarterly testing and evacuations...since we were on the 46th floor we would go up to the roof and i always wondered if a helicopter would really retrieve us if smoke and fire were real.
Many times I walked down 45 stories and it's a chore.
Thank goodness i've never had to evacuate from a hotel...but my boss was in the tower of the first worldtrade center garage bomb. I was working the dayshift and was the one who received his call that he was alive and that he only had a 20-second phone call so I had to call his wife. That was an adrenaline moment, for sure!

Carol said...

I SO enjoy your posts. I really need to stop by here more often!!

Chatty Kelly said...

This never happen to me, but my sister tells the story when it happened to her inlaws. They were supposed to be evacuating, but the dad was in the bathroom looking in the mirror. The mom says "This is no time to be checking how you look in the mirror!" And he said "I'm putting in my eye!" He had a glass eye. True story. LOL!

Pam Warden Art said...

I have bears on my property here in Northern WI. They get angry if I don't have bird feeders out for them to destroy. I HATE bears, I join you in wishing all bears were dead. I told my friend that if I die because a bear chomped my head then to just know this one thing, even though I am dead...I am still REALLY angry. I do not want to die because something is using me as a chew toy!
As a firefighter the one thing you don't do is tell the others any of your quirky little fears, like I'm terrified of bears. One of my fellow firemen followed me through the forest on a wildfire one night growling softly behind me. This is how it went, "Grrrrr...." "Shut up Greg!" "Grrrrrrr...." "Shut up Greg!" "Grrrrrrr...."
Hugs, Pam