Disturbing the peace

· life ·

Burglar alarms are nothing but trouble. At 1 am on Thursday, I was woken by a piercing siren; the burglar alarm on the front of the house was shrieking away. This was a bit perplexing because I have never actually set the alarm, since we've had builders in and out the whole time. I got dressed and went out into the rain to check that it really was our alarm, and found to my consternation that it was. There's nothing quite like making a good impression on the neighbours as soon as you move in — they must all want to kill me. I looked at the keypad to try to disable it, but there was no power going to it at all — no lights on and no-one home. In desperation — and not thinking too clearly that early in the morning — I tried shutting off the power at the fuse box. Of course, if it was that easy to silence an alarm, burglars would do it all the time. Duh.

Plan B was to phone our landlord, but the answer machine was on (not unreasonably at that hour). And so, on to Plan C. I phoned the police to let them know that if anyone phoned in about the alarm, they were not to break the door down to apprehend the non-existent burglar. It was obviously a busy night, and I had to wait in a phone queue for some time before speaking to someone on the help-desk. I burbled on in a tired, tale-of-malfunctioning-alarm stream of consciousness for some time, ending with, "...so is there anything else I can do?" There was a slight pause and the officer on the line said dryly, "I was just waiting for you to finish that sentence." Unfortunately, he told me what I had suspected — I was just going to have to wait until the backup battery in the siren ran down. Now, the batteries in torches run down the minute you need them, but that backup battery had real staying power. At 5am it was still warbling away merrily, and I had still only had an hour and a half of sleep. Nothing but trouble...