It may have been the coffee. But that was many hours before. It could have been that Pepsi I had after dinner – but I think I flushed that out of the ol’ system a couple of hours later. So I don’t quite know why, after sliding into bed at 11:00 that night and dozing off, I suddenly found myself wide awake at 1:00 in the morning, staring at the ceiling, all my senses on full alert.
I tried counting sheep – really. But whoever invented that little exercise had more patience than I. I suspect it was some delusional shepherd, who spent too many days and nights socializing only with sheep. Probably had some deep-seated psychological issues to deal with, as well. I rolled over and stared right into the dial of my clock radio. It smiled back at me menacingly. 1:30 a.m.
I closed my eyes tight, until those blue and red dots started floating across my vision. Yet still, sleep did not come.
I finally dozed for a few minutes but was soon awakened by a cacophony of noise. Dueling snores, I’d call this scenario. To my right, my wife was snoring like a truck driver after a day on the road. There is no such thing as a “feminine snore”. At my feet, Max, our 20-lb male cat, was wheezing like an asthma victim who had just run the Boston Marathon. I reached over and blocked my wife’s nose. That always leads to a snore lull of about ten seconds. Once she gulps down a few pockets of air through her mouth, she usually says something like “Harumpppp…. zzzz… whazzamatta,” and rolls over. Whereupon the snoring stops and quiet resumes. Thankfully, it worked once again this time.
But that night the “Energizer cat” kept going strong, wheezing away. So I had to get out of bed and cuff him across the noggin, one of those back-of-the-head swats that mothers would give their sons in the 1950s. I miss those. Now this cat talks to us, so he popped his head up, startled awake, and said “Brrrrr?”. Which means, “What’s the matter? Can’t you see I’m sleeping?” Then he lowered his head again and dozed right off. I envied him that night.
At 3:00 a.m., I couldn’t stand the glare from the living room light downstairs anymore. It probably projected all of 10 watts of light up to our bedroom. But to the sleep-deprived, that’s like staring into the sun. I tiptoed downstairs and shut that light off. Our kids haven’t quite grasped the concept of turning off lights before going to bed. We’ll have to talk. But not now.
I returned to bed, the symphony of snores closing in around me once more. I tried burying my head under the pillow. That used to work well in the old days when I had a heavy down pillow. Of course, once the cats discovered that was full of feathers, they began picking at it. Good bye to that pillow and years of comfortable sleep on the feathers of many dead birds…but we digress. My modern day pillow of foam just couldn’t muffle the thunderous sounds bouncing off my bedroom walls that night. But I stayed under there for a while, until I obviously dozed off somewhere around 4:00 a.m.
The usual 5:50 a.m. radio alarm was no welcome sound that morning, the voices of way-too-happy morning DJs filling my cobwebbed mind. I rolled over to greet my wife, who promptly told me that she didn’t sleep well, because I woke her up last night. I think I’m gonna buy her a sheep, and vowed to invest in a good pair of earplugs. And go to bed at about 6:00 that night.
God bless those who work the third shift.
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Joe Paradis is one of Londonderry’s most popular columnists and authors. Visit his web site at www.joes2cents.com today and order his latest autographed book, “It’s Great to Be Alive!”