BY SARA PALMER
Story inspired by the suggestion of “fire alarms in hotel rooms.”
It was one of our many family trips to Minneapolis. My mother and her twin being the masterminds behind these trips; it was called “school shopping,” but we all knew better. This was just a chance for the two of them to get to America’s shopping mecca, also known as, The Mall of America.
Being twins, they obviously share a lot of similarities, but none quite so profound as their passion for shopping. For instance, my mother takes my grandmother for coffee every Saturday, at none other than the mall. Every time I call home, my mother is either going to, or has already been to the mall. When she comes to visit me in Arizona and a city is named, she will reference a shopping area in that city. Not to mention, whenever my aunt, her twin, and she are in the same city, they have to make a quick jaunt out to-you guessed it the mall. Which always turns into “blipping” into multiple stores to take a look at the sale racks.
This is one thing I will give my mother, she can find a deal. I mean, I ended up with a lot of shirts and pants in high school that my mom got “such a deal” on that if I wore it once, I would get my money’s worth out of it. To which I always replied: “There’s a reason no one bought this, mom.”
This particular trip, my mother got stuck in a hotel room with my older sister, my cousin and myself. We had gone to bed hours ago when suddenly the fire alarm began blaring it’s warning and we were awakened from a dead slumber.
My cousin and I were sharing a bed, which left my mother and sister in the other. At the sounding alarm, my eyes pop open and I saw my cousin hurling above me through the air. I looked to my right and saw my sister sitting straight up screaming at the top of her lungs as if she is harmonizing with the alarm itself. That or pea soup was going to start exploding from her mouth. My mother scrambled to her feet, quieted my sister down, grabbed my cousin’s long pajama shirt, which she had escaped from during her short flight across the bed and onto the floor, and motioned for us all to get up.
We all leapt to our feet, and like ducklings, followed my mother out of the hotel room to the next room down, which was housing my cousin’s parents. As we stood, in our pajamas in the hallway, knocking on my aunt and uncle’s door, we could still hear the alarm in the background. My aunt and uncle answered the door with obvious confusion of their faces and let us into their room to make a phone call to the front desk. The sense of urgency in that phone call was high and the woman on the other end said she’d send someone right up. This calmed us down a bit, then we waited.
It took what seemed an eternity, being as it was somewhere around 2am, for the maintenance guy to come up and handle the situation. As we waited for him patiently next door, my aunt and uncle tried to keep their eyes open, the rest of us pulsing with adrenaline from the abrupt and piercing sound of the alarm.
Finally, the maintenance guy arrives, opens the door and simply tears the alarm off the wall. He turns to my mother and says: “You should be good now.” Still a little disoriented from the shock of the situation, we took his word for it and tried to get back to bed. Only this time, the room was filled with laughter and each time we said: “OK, let’s really go to sleep now.” Thirty seconds would go by and someone would start cracking up, igniting the rest of us to follow suit.
Sara Palmer is a an improviser-writer-storyteller based in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. Share your ideas for her next blog in the comments below.