OK, I had several ideas for the title of this entry, all of them lame. The one I chose was no more or less lame than the others. Anyway…
We spent last night at a hotel in Baltimore. A convention happened to be going on at the hotel. A convention the likes of which I had never even imagined could exist.
It was Bells Galore in Baltimore! This was the 2006 convention of the American Bell Association. Yes, bells. These people collect bells. They talk about bells. They dream about bells. And they most certainly ring bells. Throughout the afternoon and evening, the sound of ringing bells could occasionally be heard wafting through the halls.
Now, the range of ages in attendance spanned from teenagers upward, but I would have to guess that the median was somewhere around 83. And it just so happens that the East Coast has been hammered for the past several days with heavy rains from a stalled front. Last night the rain was particularly heavy, and around 10 PM the power in the hotel went out. It was rather odd, since all of the adjacent buildings, including a large mall across the street, still had power. Luckily, it was late enough that we just decided to go to bed, but around a half hour later, the fire alarms started going off. Disturbingly, the hotel had no emergency lights, so the hallways were completely dark. Several of us illumated our own path with our cell phones. (Ah, the wonders of the modern age.)
Well, halfway down the stairs we were met by the hotel manager, who informed us that there was not an emergency and we did not need to evacuate; the alarms were simply malfunctioning due to the power outage. Of course, the hotel was filled with octagenarians; not the best time for such a fandango. So a while later the fire department arrived (formalities), and they had to go door to door knocking and asking if anyone needed medical assistance.
Fortunately we didn’t, although the fire alarms continued to sound about every 10 minutes for the next half hour or so, spaced out just perfectly to wake up our 3-month-old daughter each time just as she was falling asleep.