Friday, March 9, 2018

The Alarm Goes Off

My parent's carbon monoxide alarm went off early this morning. The fire department went over earlier, and from what I can gather, they weren't much help. Tim says that they said they couldn't smell any gas. You would think firefighters would be smart enough to know carbon monoxide is odorless. Right?

Tim is going over to the house to help my parents. I guess they're going to try to figure out if it's a false alarm, and if it is, why the false alarm happened.  

I hope all is well with my parents and their house. I'm glad Tim is eager to help them, and I hope he is able to help them.

BUT the whole thing is bringing up some angry memories. So I'm going to write about them here.

1. The time Tim was out of town and our security alarm went off early in the morning.  I was terrified. The alarm company asked if they should send the police. I was like...uh yeah?  I mean really. Why do we have an alarm if it's not going to lead us to getting help? If I was the one that tripped the alarm by opening a door, I would have told the dispatcher that.

The police officer who arrived was super nice and made me feel safe.  Though now I wonder how things would have been different if I was black. And that makes me sad.  

But anyway....

When Tim found out I had the police come, he questioned that in an annoyed tone. His worry about the cost of all that seemed much stronger than his concern for the safety of his wife and child. Nor did he seem to have any sympathy for my fear. And by that, I mean there didn't seem to be ANY concern or sympathy.  Later he tried to change his tune. But...damage done.  

2. For some period of time we had an alarm but it wasn't connected to any system/dispatcher. I'm not sure if this period was weeks, months, years, etc.  I would guess months. But it annoys me that the electronic problems of Tim's in-laws are a bigger priority than ours was.

3. The time our smoke alarm went off and Tim immediately turned it off, assuming it was a false alarm.  His reasoning was that he saw no smoke or fire. Our house is quite big.And personally, I thought the purpose of a smoke alarm was to give you a warning BEFORE your house is completely engulfed in flames.  

Tim ended up being right. It was a false alarm. Personally, I don't think that matters. I mean it matters in the fact that our house is still standing, and we're all alive. That's good, of course.  But if you end up doing something dangerous and everything turns out okay, that doesn't make your behavior more acceptable.  

4. Another night that Tim wasn't home and the alarm went off. Again, I was terrified. I called him. He thought the balcony door might be open. He asked me to go investigate. 

Again, he was right. I think. It was the door.  BUT...again. I don't think that matters. I shouldn't have been asked to go investigate. Because what if it was not a false alarm? What if there were robbers? A serial killer? A rapist?  Is that not at all possible?  

Tim has made comments about horror movies—like if we heard ghostly voices, we'd leave immediately.  Really? I don't think so.  The kind of character that would make the choice to NOT mess with the supernatural would not be the same character that goes to the basement to check out a strange noise. Nor would they suggest that their wife do it.    

I think all this is ONE of the reasons I avoid or take a lot of time to get myself to the doctor when I have a concerning symptom. I think part of me has been led to feeling shame for being concerned about things and for not assuming every warning sign is a false alarm.  I try to fight against the shame.  I try to tell myself that I have a right to be afraid for my safety and the safety of my child. I have a right to be concerned about my health. I have a right to seek help.  But this fight....

Well, it's really hard for me.  It's a huge struggle in my life.

EDITED TO ADD: I talked to my parents. Tim had the story wrong. It wasn't the carbon monoxide alarm. It was a natural gas alarm. I didn't know there was a such thing! But anyway...I can still have some faith in the Fort Worth Fire Department.

The natural gas thing reminded me of something.

To Tim's credit, fairly recently we smelled gas in our house. Tim had us go outside immediately, and he immediately called the gas company in to investigate.

I'm not sure why there was such an improvement in behavior.  Is he slowly becoming more safety-conscious? Is he realizing that bad things DO happen to people and that his family is not immune? I think with everything we see in the news, it's hard not to come to that realization eventually.

Or it could be that explosions scare him more than fires, robberies, rape, murder, etc?

OR it could be that he was home and actually smelled the gas for himself. Maybe it's easier to be concerned when you are there and not just hearing about it from your wife.  He was home during the smoke alarm incident, but maybe the alarm was not enough to concern him. Maybe he needs to see, smell, or hear something (besides the alarm) before feeling worried enough to take safety-action.

It could also be that he knows I want him to show more concern for health and safety (because I've bitched about that a lot), and he was simply acting in a way to please me. He did seem truly concerned, though, so I don't feel that's the case.  It didn't seem like he was putting on an act.