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Friday 22nd August 2003

I was woken up at around 8.23 by an alarm going off. It sounded like the alarm on my mobile phone. I didn't remember setting the alarm on my mobile phone. I thought this was weird.
The alarm rang for a brief time (presumably a minute) and then stopped of its own accord. Awake, but tired, I was aware that my phone alarm would only be on snooze and so if I didn't go an deactivate it, it would wake me again in a few minutes.
I went to find my phone. It was in my trousers downstairs, which immediately seemed odd as the alarm had sounded closer than that.
I looked at the phone. It was on, but there was no alarm symbol on its screen and on chekcing I realised that the alarm had not been set.
So what had beeped and woken me up?

I got back into bed and was slightly troubled by this. I only have one other alarm clock and that is by my bed and had definitely not rung. The alarm had sounded too close and clear to have been coming from next door. So where had this alarm come from?

The more I thought about it, the more freaky this ghost alarm became. Had someone been sleeping in my house while I was away? Someone who got up at 8.23? Someone who hadn't realised I'd be back so soon, assuming that I would as planned have been staying the night in York? (a town where in my experience most hotel receptionists are polite and helpful, but one of them was ever-so slightly condscending and unhelpful. I say this for the benefit of the person on my guestbook who thinks I knock the service industry too much. The other receptionists I encountered yesterday did their best to help, looked through lists for me, adn tellingly knew their hotels were full the minute I walked through the door, rather than slightly suspiciously looking at their computer to see if there were any vacancies. That's something you would know already surely. Almost like she knew there were some, but was going through the charade of looking so she didn't have to have this smelly and hairy man staying in her posh hotel.)
Someone who had thus had to flee when I arrived unexpectedly and had left their primed alarm clock hidden somewhere in my house?

Or maybe someone had just hidden the alarm clock in my house, in order to wake me up, because they felt it was wrong of me to have a go at people working in the service industry and other proper jobs, who would have to get up at the ungodly hour of 8.23.
Call me paranoid, but I am pretty certain that this person was the receptionist at the Hilton hotel in York, or one of her cohorts from the London Hilton.

I envisaged being woken up every day at 8.23am and having a minute to wake up enough to get out of bed and rush around and try and work out where this alarm clock is hidden.
If the interloper had hidden it cunningly enough then I would never have the time to find it.

Oh how their satire of me would come to torment me forever.
Then I realised that I could set my own alarm for 8.21, so that I could be awake and alert enough to track down the rogue alarm clock at 8.23.
Maybe I wouldn't get it the first day, but I'd be able to narrow down my search and would surely find it in 7 days.
So the receptionist at the Hilton hotel in York would only cause me a week's worth of pain, rather than a life-time's. Though at least she would have the added thrill of knowing that I would have to get up two minutes earlier for that week, so her scheme would have caused me even more temporary agony.

I couldn't get back to sleep with all thee worries in my head.
Please let this nightmare be over.

Imagine having to get up at 8.23 every morning.
Surely no-one has to do that in real life.
Do they?

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