In the world, there are the light sleepers and the heavy sleepers. Should Amanda and I ever have children, they will have a fifty fifty chance of being able to sleep through a bus accident. My father is a heavy sleeper. My mother has timed him at being able to drop off into a coma like state in six seconds flat, and he is able to sleep through just about anything until a predetermined time of his choosing. Unfortunately, I take after my mother. Going to sleep is a chore. It takes at least twenty frustrating minutes of adjusting, positioning and mental games of trying to distract myself from just how frustrated I am at how I can't seem to properly distract myself. Once I am asleep, I am often roused by the creaking of the house, the cat climbing or running down the stairs or the sounds made by large, passing insects or rolling bits of litter. My condition was always manageable, but the new responsibility of home ownership in an urban setting has aggravated my light sleeping into a genuinely chronic condition. If I slept with a gun on my night stand, there would be holes in every surface that faces the bed.
There was a time when mine were the favored genes. We could protect our village from encroaching bears or lions. We could spring into action if sneak thieves from less advanced tribes were raiding our stores of wheat or mutton by cover of darkness. Now we just stare out the bedroom door at night trying to determine if the sounds we are hearing are really the foot steps of burglars or deranged homeless men who has found a way to circumvent the brand name security alarm that we pay good money for every month to keep it on and monitored from a remote location. As we finally go to sleep we wonder about the sounds that we can't hear. Should we have hidden the kitchen knives so we aren't awakened by our throats being cut by these crazy, homeless, cat burglars who can materialize through solid walls, silently scale our creaky stairs and sneak in through locked windows?
I recently had occasion to inform Amanda that I was awakened by a Morning Zoo program blasting from some fat slob's car radio just below our window. And when I say car radio I mean minivan radio, and when I say fat slob it is only because he was so bulbous and grotesque that it seemed to be less a vehicle for him and more the only economical device for conveying his immovable bulk from place to place. It was only when the "poppa ooo mao mao" was replaced with Frank Sinatra with full brass behind him at twice the volume, exactly one hour before the alarm was due to go off, that I had my robe and slippers on and I was out the door. Amanda later asked me the exact question that I asked myself right before I told her: if I would have been so bold had the car had been blasting, let's say, Ghost Face Killa? Probably not, but I honestly couldn't tell you. I went up the economy class blubber transporter and informed its driver that he was making it very hard to sleep. He expressed the expected surprise at how anyone wouldn't want to hear Frank at jet engine decibel level at the crack of dawn.
"I love Frank, and I love coffee!" This is what he said to me.
"I like him too" I lie, "But I like sleeping more."
Jumbo turns it down, and I throw a wave over my shoulder as I walk back to my house as the understanding that I am now the sort of person who leaves his house in a robe and slippers to bitch someone out crystallizes in my mind. I'm a little too pleased with myself as I go back to sleep. When I wake up about forty five minutes later, I decide to hold off on telling Amanda what I've been doing while she slept. I do ask her if she was awakened by the John DeBella show in the wee hours. She was not. I start to feel slightly embarrassed.
I was a bit too pleased with myself at how I had handled the situation, and I am paying for it right now. The Mexicans next door have been blasting mariachi music for hours. It's now 1:47 AM. They live on the second floor above a convenience store and don't have a door bell. Let me share a little secret- the Philadelphia Police Department doesn't actually respond to noise complaints and even less so on Friday nights.
A few moments ago, a friend of mine drunk dialed me from a party and she got cut off which mend a follow up call could happen at any moment. I'm typing this at the computer now because it's on the other side of the house from the bedroom, which is vibrating with the sort of music that I normally associate with riding on a carousel. The bed is vibrating in an insidiously subtle way to the farty bass of a tuba. The phone did wake up Amanda, but she seems to have dropped back off.