The yellow emergency horns at the top of this high school are half a block from my dad’s house, where I’m spending the week. Monday morning these horns started blaring at 4:30 a.m.
Emergency horns that are half a block away are very, VERY loud. They also do not sound like emergency sirens because there’s no wail effect. I don’t know whether this is because Ohio sirens are different from the ones I’m used to in Wisconsin, or because of something to do with the Doppler effect. I’m hoping someone with a physics background will explain it in the comments.
What the sirens do sound like is a car horn that’s shorted out in the neighbor’s driveway, which is about five feet from the wall of the bedroom where I was sleeping. I peeked through the curtains at the imputed offender, scowled, and went back to bed.
Three or four minutes later, the sirens wound down, and then I finally heard the familiar wail. Also, there seemed to be thunder in the distance…
I scrambled into the living room and turned on the TV. Let’s just say that seeing a weather map with a huge red “rotation” heading right toward you certainly accelerates the wake-up process.
I woke my dad, who had slept right through the first round of sirens. Fortunately, the second round was the last. By the time I got Dad and his walker halfway to the basement door, the weather map showed that the storm had turned north and the alert had expired for our county.
Dad fixed himself a cup of coffee and sat in the living room to watch the rain.
I went back to bed.
The rest of the week, I’m happy to say, has been less dramatic. Last night there was the Incident of the Burned-Out Light Bulb, which plunged the whole living room into darkness because it turned out the rest of the living-room light bulbs were dead, too, but that was a lot easier to fix than living in a Red Cross shelter until we could replace the roof.
© 2011 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go
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