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11/21/2004 Archived Entry: "My brush with death :-)"

MY BRUSH WITH DEATH. Last night the carbon monoxide detector began to yammer just as the dogs and I were settling in for the evening. "You're all about to keel over dead-dead-dead-dead!" it screamed in its little electronic code.

Not a one of us felt like we were fixin' to die. Besides, we're currently bedded down in an old travel trailer so full of air leaks that carbon monoxide would have less chance here than an honest politician in Chicago.

But you know the warnings: clear, odorless gas, blah-blah, even if you don't smell anything, blah-blah. So out the door (with its one-inch air gap at the bottom) we trooped.

The bossy little doodad continued to insist we were on the point of tragic collapse even after I carried it out into the clear desert air and held it up to the stars. Bleat-bleat-bleat-bleat! Bleat-bleat-bleat-bleat! Is it really possible that the entire desert is thick with deadly, choking gasses??? Is the Hermitage under alien miasma attack? Are Mad Busheviks doing chemwar experiments in the wayback? Is a heretofore undetected underground volcano venting its deadly gasses through the sand?

It must be something of the kind. Because surely, a device mandated and approved by Our Glorious Federal Government wouldn't make a mistake about a matter of life or death. If a Device For Our Own Good says we're about to corpsify with our next breath, then it's our downright civic duty either to corpsify or run for safety.

Yet, what could I do, with both outside and inside air equally clotted with noxious, insidious, invisible death? If we were going to die outside we might as well die inside where it was warm and light. I yanked the detector's battery, laid the pieces down, went back inside, and returned to my gripping game of FreeCell.

For the next hour, I kept waiting for the clear, odorless, invisible effects to tragically overwhelm me. I felt perfectly clearheaded and alert. But then, what would I know? If I were being slowly poisoned by the very air I was breathing, might my gas-clouded, disoriented brain be too disoriented to recognize disorientation?

Weeks later, they find us. Foolish woman. Disconnected the battery and died in ignorance ...

It now appears I survived the night (as did all four "trailer canary" dogs). The pieces of the CO detector now rest next to the pieces of the smoke alarm (which warned of immanent death every time I boiled spaghetti water).

The reliability of these devices makes me so glad my truck is too old to have an airbag.

Posted by Claire @ 01:13 PM CST

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