Early in our relationship, on warm Friday evenings, my boyfriend Steve (who later became my husband) and I frequently squished onto a Long Island Railroad car to spend summer weekends with his parents. On one such trip a muffled siren began to blare. I turned to Steve and shouted, “Sounds like someone’s portable smoke alarm has gone off.”

His incredulous look made clear he found the suggestion preposterous that anyone besides me had packed a travel smoke alarm. From then on I always removed the alarm’s batteries before placing it in my wheelie bag.

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