Published on May 18th, 2016 | by Richard Black0
Things That Go Bump in the Night
“Did you hear that?”
It’s a question I can bank on being asked from my wife a few times a week, typically whenever I’m just about to fall asleep or sit down on the toilet for an hour or two, and occasionally when I take part in both activities at the same time. I’m a multitasker in every aspect of my life.
My response, like most men, is usually a groggy “no”. There are times when I’m even able to mount a semi-coherent something about the innocuous nature of the supposed sound.
“It’s a squirrel.”
“It’s the toilet.”
“It’s the Rapture.”
To date none of these responses have had the desired effect. Laura rarely lets me ignore the event whether it’s real or imagined and I’ve often wondered how, after twelve years of marriage, she continues to ask questions that I consider to be rhetorical. Being the open minded husband who’s married to a beautiful and intelligent woman I chalk this constant misunderstanding to philosophical differences.
I’m a man of many beliefs and, late at night when I really just want to go to bed, I’m a brass bound Idealist. This is not to say that I’m a happy go lucky sort whom believes that everything is for the best. I’m an Idealist in the classical sense in which reality is simply a structure of our belief. If I can’t see it, hear, it, smell it or otherwise intuit “its” existence then “it”, for intents and purposes, doesn’t exist.
Unfortunately Laura is not an Idealist. I’m not sure what the opposite of Idealism is but whatever it’s called my wife is a huge fan. In addition to noises she hears Laura firmly believes in things that she hasn’t seen or heard. It’s exhausting really and I’d be lying if our difference in beliefs hasn’t put quite a strain on our marriage.
I rarely hear anything and it’s been the subject of some heated debates in the middle of the night. While I’m no expert I’ve mentioned quite a few times that the transitive property isn’t valid when it comes to one’s beliefs. Simply because Laura hears something doesn’t require me to have heard or believe that there’s something to hear.
My wife has yet to embrace this completely sound argument. It’s a nice theory of course but it’s also a good example of the shortfalls that occur between a philosophical stance and its real life applications.
I wasn’t always an Idealist. Many years ago when we were first living together Laura would wake with a start, ask if I’d heard something and I’d listen intently for all of a four seconds before falling immediately back to sleep. More often than not I’d be prodded and poked and nagged into investigating the source of the noise usually around three in the morning. I’d make a cursory inspection of our home before reporting that the C.H.U.D.S hadn’t invaded or the Visigoths must have missed us on the way to sacking Rome.
After a few years I began to worry that I was going deaf or, at the very least, suffered from some sort of selective hearing disorder. When our daughter was born more than five years ago Laura and I spent the first six months in Darcy’s room. During that time I became acutely aware of every rustle, breath, burp, fart, screech, howl, or shriek our daughter would make. It was a difficult time for me and one that prompted my constant nagging to move both Laura and myself into our bedroom as quickly as possible. Fate however had other plans.
A giant Ash tree stood a good forty feet above our roofline and and began dropping limbs directly over our bedroom on a fairly regular basis. These were not dainty limbs. Generally they spanned twenty feet or so with a diameter of four to five inches and would rain down on our roof, first with a crack, then with a thundering slam that rattled the entire home.
My wife and I both coped in different ways as our home was bombarded every three or four days by massive Ash branches. I found solace in large quantities of alcohol. Laura almost had a nervous breakdown and began a lifelong infatuation with sound that go bump, or slam, in the night that continues to this day.
“Did you hear that?” I heard her ask a few months ago, “There’s something in the attic?”
“Did you hear that?” she asked last week” “It sounds like something’s in the walls.”
“Did you hear that?” she asked just the other day, “I think I hear someone trying to get into our car.”
Now that we’ve moved into a new home the situation hasn’t improved and there are a whole host of new creaks and thumps to intrude upon our sleep and peace of mind. For the most part I’ve been able to explain the noises in a calm and rational fashion.
“It’s the furnace.”
“Your phone is on vibrate.”
“The Gimp must have gotten loose.”
More often than not my wife still finds these answers to be less than reassuring and a few times every week I tromp around the house in my boxers to chase down the newest sound I hadn’t heard and then I had an epiphany of sorts.
Half naked and with nothing more than harsh language to confront an intruder I came to the conclusion that there’s nothing more idiotic than a man giving his home a cursory once over with the expectation of not finding anything. The thought was really an eye opener and, to remedy the situation, I’ve bought my wife a pair of noise canceling head phones so that I don’t put myself in danger ever again.