At midnight, last night, my sister and I spent an hour on the phone with each other. We were trying to dismantle her chirping CO2 detector without it making its tamper-deterrent, 85-decibel, somebody’s-touching-me, continuous wail. This involved five google searches, three accidental appeals to Jesus, and one long conversation about Jimmy, the next-door neighbor, who is by all accounts the meanest divinity student on the eastern seaboard. We discussed what would happen if you sat on 85 decibels. We debated whether, if you couldn’t shut them up, you would wake fewer neighbors if you ran with the shrieking alarm, into the parking lot, and threw the thing into your trunk. We wondered if it would be quieter to shut an angry detector into the freezer–or if it would then get so quiet that you’d forget it was there, until you went for ice cream, and wetted yourself. We puzzled. We felt like two cats sniffing a dormant leaf blower. In the end, Ali placed me (via her phone) under a pillow (which she may shoved under her butt). She pushed the alarm’s RESET button, and ripped out the detector’s guts. There was no shrieking. There was no Jimmy wrath. We rejoiced in our triumph. And we discovered that when cats sneak and worry around an object like this, they too likely hope to disembowel it.

(Originally posted August 9, 2014)

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