The Light of Day

Have you ever done something that, in that moment, seems perfectly rational and logical and then, when you look back over the event, you find yourself questioning if you need to be admitted to the local state mental hospital? Ye-eah… I had one of those moments in the middle of the night last night…

I’ve heard it said that a mind addled with sleep deprivation – or a mind that has been jarred awake from a deep, dream-filled sleep state – can make some pretty rash decisions. For me, when I get to that state, all I can focus on is… I need sleep! and I’ll do whatever it takes to get that need met. I become delirious and punchy. If it is a situation where I’ve been up for hours on end – or days on end – then I become giddy, giggly, and intolerably “humorous,” although I am usually the only one who feels that I’m funny. If it is the other situation, where I’ve been startled awake, I am a complete bitch. No other way to put that one nicely.

I’ve mentioned before that my daughter and I share the guest bedroom in the home of my father and his wife. Over the last two weeks, my father has been “fixing” the smoke detector in the hallway by our room because it has been beeping incessantly, as though it needs its battery replaced. He replaced its battery at first – none of the others on the circuit, though – and thought it was all well and good. He did that process a couple times before he followed through with my advice to change the batteries of all of the detectors. When that process didn’t stop the problem and the offending detector would wake up every few days to chirp annoyingly every 30-or-so seconds until it received attention, I suggested he call in a professional to look at it. Instead, he climbed the ladder (several different times) and wiggled something around in there until the chirping stopped.

Last night, at 12:25am, the merciless machine began chirping again.

Now, you should know, my father once slept through an earthquake when I was younger, so this chirpy annoyance doesn’t penetrate his sleep wall. And he sleeps with a noisy bi-pap machine so his wife can’t hear anything either. There was no way they were going to hear the infernal tweet until they finally heard their alarm clock and emerged from their room.

When we went to sleep, my daughter wasn’t feeling well. Stuffy nose. Sore throat. Not fun. So, I hoped she would sleep through it too, although I was alert on the first syllable of the first beep. I think she was hoping she’d sleep through it too because she moaned and grumbled in her sleep. Then, on the second tweet, she growled. On the third, she sat up in bed and swore. Really loud.

We tried turning on our room fan at high speed. We tried our SkullCandy headsets. We tried pillows over our heads. Nothing helped. That demonic detector was bound and determined to keep on singing away.

I pondered about pounding on their door so he could do his “magic” to the damn thing. But, I’ve knocked on their bedroom door before for emergencies and have been unsuccessful in waking the apparent dead in there. So I knew it was futile. I would have had to have gone into the room – ack! no way! – and stood at their heads and lit off the finale of an Independence Day fireworks show before they would have budged.

So, she and I tossed and turned for a few minutes, groaning and growing progressively more mad by the second. Finally, I had (what I thought was) a brilliant idea.We’ll go sleep in the car.

Now, mind you, my mind was kerfuffled from being awakened so rudely and all I could focus on was let me sleep! She protested at first, but it took only one more minute and two more aggravating tweetles before she threw off her covers and said, “FINE! Let’s sleep in the car.”

blankets

We opted for dad’s car because it was in the garage and seemed to have a little more room for sleeping than ours did, which was in the driveway on a very cold night. Theory was, the car inside the garage would be a tad warmer. We brought out all of our blankets and snuggled into the new “camper.” I conformed my body to the dips and curves and seatbelts of the back seat and she curled around the spare tire and the box of something or another in the “back-back” and we drifted off into sleep land, the chirping of the detector still audible but barely so.

I awoke when my father threw the garage lights on at 4:45am – about 3 hours after I had finally drifted off to fully-conscious sleeping – because he was coming out to get the ladder to “fix” the beeping detector. I scared the living daylights out of him when I pounded on the car windows to let him know I was mad that the lights were on. He about dropped the ladder and seemed quite confused as to why his daughter and granddaughter were in his car.

All I can say is… it made sense to me at 1:30am.

And, in the light of day, I have a newfound admiration for people that find themselves in circumstances that force them to sleep in their cars, especially on nights as cold as last night. I also found some deeper sense of gratitude for the shelter of that guest room and for the little comfort of the bed in that room.

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