Endlessly Ringing Alarm Clocks
Featuring: The Roommates
I’ve experienced a couple of roommates who would let their alarm clocks ring over and over again. They weren’t bad people. It wasn’t a passive aggressive way to drive me or other roommates crazy. They just didn’t see anything wrong with letting it ring.
The first time this happened, I was in a college dorm and the perpetrator was a woman I will call “Jan”. Jan shared a room with me and and another woman I’ll call “Zelda”. Jan had a lot of quirks about her. She also moved out of the dorm pretty quickly, because we couldn’t accommodate them. We didn’t kick her out. We weren’t mean (it was unintentional if we were). She actually wanted to move out before she met us, because she didn’t want to live in the dorms regardless of who the roommates were. Her parents were only about ten minutes from the college, and she preferred living with them. I still have no clue how she ended up in the dorms. Dorms are expensive, especially if you don’t actually want to be living there. But one of her quirks was letting her alarm clock ring over and over again. Luckily, we drove this habit out of her, so it only happened once. I swear it was ringing for a good half hour, before I finally got up and turned it off. Zelda and I kept asking her to turn it off, but she ignored us and let it go. I guess some people just can’t get out of bed in the morning? Fortunately, she sensed how upset we were and never did it again. Maybe it was all the dirty looks?
The other roommate (after college), was someone I will call “Kari”. Kari was unusual in that she just couldn’t take a hint. She would repeatedly let the alarm clock ring. This was an unusual situation where there were about eight women in the same apartment (it was an expensive area), and no one’s subtle hints that she should turn it off in the mornings were getting through.
I think part of the problem was one roommate whom I will call “Witch”. I’m calling her Witch because I believe she is a genuinely bad person. Witch was highly manipulative and I imagine her as the type of person who would keep a broomstick for both flying and beating her enemies with. Well, one day Witch shared a story with Kari (who was not a witch, and I’m not trying to make her look like one). Witch complained about roommates, awful ones, who would (gasp!) turn her alarm clock off when she let it ring. In fact, she was late to class once because an impertinent roommate had turned it off. She couldn’t understand why the roommate didn’t wake her up. The nerve. Witch had Kari convinced that letting an alarm clock ring incessantly was normal and it’s the responsibility of the roommates to get you to class on time. Witch was a piece of work.
One early morning, I had enough. I awoke to the sound of a cell phone alarm, and I repeatedly asked Kari to turn off her alarm. She kept saying no. When I said I was going to turn it off, she told me not to do that. She showed no signs of getting out of bed. I turned it off.
Kari was furious with me. She was still in college and would be late to class, because I turned her alarm off. I told her it was annoying and I couldn’t take it anymore. She asked why I didn’t wake her up. I went into shock and told her I spoke to her numerous times before turning it off. And why was I responsible for waking her up in the morning? She said she didn’t know why the alarm bothered me if I was awake. I said, “But I wasn’t awake! Your alarm woke me up!” She apologized but I couldn’t even bring myself to say goodbye to her that morning.
What Do I Wish I Had Done Differently?
In both cases, I wish that I had been direct but kind. Neither woman was a jerk. I wish I had said, “I need my rest in the mornings. If your alarm clock rings, please turn it off immediately. If you sleep through the alarm, I’m happy to wake you up. But I can only do it once. I wish I had a snooze button. I respect that you need to wake up early, and I hope you respect my need for sleep”
Unfortunately, when we are talking about an early morning alarm it’s hard to be civil. If you do lose it with your roommate, just say that you are sorry…and advise avoiding any future nastiness by getting that alarm clock turned off pronto next time.