Friday, 21 June 2013

Night Noises

Certain things invade my subconscious mind and return to bite me on my arse, usually in the middle of the night.

The other night, I was laughing at a documentary on TV about people who were convinced that they are constantly being abducted by aliens. As my conscious mind mocked these poor unfortunate wretches, their words somehow bypassed my mental firewall and occupied a deeper subconscious level of my brain.

It was like a time bomb waiting to detonate.

I am a light sleeper and can be woken up very easily (too easily!) by noises in the night. With three cats lurking around, I am often dragged from my slumber if they decide to scratch the carpet, fight with each other or simply turn over and start snoring downstairs. Suffice it to say, any other noises such as passing cars, people chatting as they walk past my house  and, in fact, my house itself, when it decides to creak or squeak, are enough to wake me up.

And, of course, when I am asleep, my imagination runs amok within my head, leading to bizarre and sometimes disturbing dreams, which unlock doors in mind full of seemingly inane drivel that has been registered there during my waking hours.

On the night I watched the documentary about alien abductees I was having a particularly vivid dream and the words spoken in the documentary suddenly exploded within my mind:

“I woke up and saw a grey alien standing at the foot of my bed; and then I was taken.”

Something woke me up. It was probably Jasper, my fat cat, snoring downstairs. It could have been anything.

All I remember is waking up with the words “grey aliens at the foot of my bed” ringing in my ears. I sat up and stared towards the end of the bed.

One more thing you need to know about me – I am as blind as a bat without my glasses.

Another thing you need to know about me – I do not sleep in my glasses.

What does this mean? It means that whenever I wake up, particularly when it is still dark, I am confronted by weird shadows of black and grey, together with other shapes that my eyes simply cannot recognize. Sadly, my imagination steps in where my flawed eyes have failed.

The weirdness of my dreams has allowed my imagination to run riot and invade reality. Suddenly, each shadow is menacing; each shape is an unspeakable horror.

What IS that thing at the bottom of the bed?


When I switched on the light, the anguished cry still echoing around the room, I groped for my glasses and discovered that “the alien” was a wardrobe that I have had for ten years and the only unspeakable horror was the anger of a very irate and very tired Mrs PM who was about to beat me back into unconsciousness for waking her up.

Night noises, for me, are a royal pain in the arse – sometimes literally when Mrs PM kicks me after I have woken her up thinking monsters are invading the bedroom.

It’s not always slavering beasts that I imagine are in my bedroom intent on devouring me. Such incidents are rare. My problem is that when I am woken up by a creak in the house I immediately think that there is something wrong and, since Mrs PM is in deep sleep and completely oblivious to my trauma, I am alone in my disturbed little world.

I lie there wondering whether the noise downstairs is a cat sharpening its claws on its scratch post or whether an axe murder is creeping up the stairs to dismember me.

There have been occasions when a night noise has been significantly loud enough to wake both of us up. Each time we have had a problem. Both my imagination and Mrs PM’s imagination collide resulting in us both scaring each other half to death.

PM: “Wassat?” 

Mrs PM: “It’s an axe murderer creeping up the stairs.”

PM: “An axe murderer? No it’s not – we’re being invaded by aliens that want to stick things in my nether regions.”

Mrs PM: “Oh – it’s the bloody cat scratching at the door for food.”

Believe it or not, we have been woken up by earthquakes. Yes that’s right – earthquakes in Manchester. The tremors were tiny but just powerful enough to scare me shitless each time.

The first time was just after we had moved into our current house. We were in the middle of redecorating and as a temporary measure, Mrs PM had propped a mirror against the window while the walls were being prepared for plastering.

When the earthquake struck, the mirror rattled against the glass and promptly fell onto the floor. I woke up imagining that scene from ‘Salem’s Lot where the vampire was hovering outside the window scratching to come in. I was halfway out of the bedroom, squealing like a little girl before I heard Mrs PM say:

“Bloody hell – that was an earthquake. It’s knocked the mirror over.”

The second time, the tremor was a little more powerful and this time I was woken up by the door rattling in its frame. To me it sounded like somebody (a mad axe murderer?) was trying to open the bedroom door. This time, I must have been dreaming about being a super hero because I leapt out of bed and, with the dream still present in my head, I pulled open the door and ran out onto the landing screaming like banshee, ready to annihilate whatever was trying to get in.

What made matters worse was the cacophony of car and burglar alarms, caused by the tremor, blaring out in the street in perfect chaotic harmony. As I stood at the top of the stairs in pitch blackness with the remnants of the dream vanishing I was filled with a sudden dread that this time, finally, there really was an axe murderer in the house.

I ran back into the bedroom, slammed the door and was about to dial 999 when Mrs PM, once again the voice of reason, said “Blimey – was that an earthquake?”

We also had a problem with Liquorice, the hellcat, when she first arrived. Our other two cats are either too lazy (Jasper) or too scared (Poppy) to climb higher than the settee. Liquorice on the other hand is small, slim and very agile and set about exploring her new home, usually at three o’clock in the morning, by leaping to the top of the bookshelf, kitchen units or anything that was above head height, just to see what the view was like.

The result? Yes – that’s right. The burglar alarm went off repeatedly, causing me to either squeal or thunder downstairs with a blunt instrument and racing heart to confront the alien or axe murderer that had invaded our home, only to find a hellcat laughing at me from the top of the bookshelf.

At least we have solved that problem and adjusted the alarm sensors to cope with Liquorice’s lofty territory.

Now, all I have to worry about are those little noises. I wish I was like Mrs PM, a woman who could really sleep through an alien invasion.

A deeply disturbed part of me hopes to see a real grey extra-terrestrial with a ray gun and an anal probe standing at the foot of the bed pointing at me.

At least then I’ll get the last laugh when I wake up Mrs PM.


Elephant's Child said...

I too am a light sleeper while my smaller portion falls into a nightly coma. (Which fills me with jealousy.)
I am all too frequently woken by the cat's digestive processes. There are no doubt worse ways (like anal probes) to wake, but a cat retching beside the bed is not good. Ever.

River said...

I feel so sorry for you. I sleep soundly and am rarely woken by noises, if I am woken, I work out what the noise was fairly quickly, thereafter my mind has registered it as nothing to worry about and the same noises don't wake me.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

I've suffered the same fate. And stepped out of bed to see what was happening only to put my foot in it - literally!




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

You're so lucky. Mrs PM is exactly the same.




Jackie K said...

I used to be a very sound sleeper but lately wake up several times a night and have nightmares quite often. Last night I watched a KIDS' MOVIE with my kids, and it had mildly scary scenes featuring people-eating lizard men aliens, which I worried would give the kids nightmares. We went to bed, all was well, the kids slept soundly, and WHO had a scary nightmare about lizard-men aliens in our house? ME!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

Ha ha! Just like me!