It’s 3 AM (it’s bound to be 3 AM somewhere), and there’s a noise that won’t stop. Before I can figure out what the noise is, I need to figure out where I am. Literally. So I start at the beginning. First, I am in a bed. It’s dark. It’s noisy. Right! I’m in a hotel and the fire alarm is going off! Excellent. Another mystery solved and I can go back to sleep. Except for the noise….
My first alarming hotel experience happened around midnight in Lisbon. One staff member and I kept company in the deserted lobby until the lights and noise calmed down. It must have been a self-extinguishing fire, as no one showed up to put it out. My second fire alarm wake-up call was the 3 AM in London. Eloquent yet firm pre-recorded announcements encouraged us to vacate the hotel. The elevators were out of service so I climbed down the stairs, raincoat over my nightie flasher-style, only to be greeted by my clients. All of them. They had managed to put clothes on. Now that would have been an idea. We gathered in the hotel lobby until all was declared safe and everyone had a chance to get a good look at my ensemble.
The last swagger downstairs was just before midnight in Philadelphia. An actual fireman showed up, validating the efforts of the ten or so hotel guests who huddled against the cold. Saved again from near sleep.
Wear something to bed and remember to make a P stop (for your pants, your parka, your passport, and your purse).