Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dem rattlin' bones

Some people are driven crazy by the sound of nails on a chalkboard, or squeaky styrofoam. These sounds don't bother me much. For me, it's the sound of a jackhammer, or the thing the dental hygenist uses to polish your teeth. Not the high-pitched whining dentist's drill, that's not a big deal. But rather the rumbling sounds that are so deep that they feel like your insides will never stop rattling. Those sounds drive me crazy. I suspect I would have this reaction to earthquakes, which I guess takes California right off the list of places to retire. Oh, and metal nail files. I hate those too.

So here comes the dilemma. The husband, he snores. It's a frequency somewhere between the jackhammer and tooth-polisher, and it lasts longer - on the order of hours. The volume is at a level that no television or earplugs can compete with. What's a girl to do? I love the man. I simply can't be in close proximity to him while he sleeps.

So, I send him to bed, or to the couch, or to his favourite chair in the library, and I shut the door. This cuts the volume to an almost tolerable level. Half an apartment away, the noise is barely audible, and so I peacefully go about my TV watching, or knitting, or reading, or - heaven forbid - work... until eventually I notice that I'm becoming agitated. Why is that? And then I notice it, the overpoweringly loud, wake-the-dead, shake-me-to-my-bones sound. The Snore is back. My teeth are rattling in sympathy with my ribs. It's been going on for some time, but I was so absorbed in my work that I didn't consciously notice it. Only subconsciously, where it STILL irritated me. Now that I'm consciously aware of it, I'm likely to go out of my mind.

And, oh look! The door that I closed an hour ago is open. At some point he woke up and wandered into another room, to another crash spot, and he's fallen asleep again. So I get up and go in, roll him over a bit (the avalanche of sound stops temporarily), kiss him on the head and close the door to that room, being careful not to turn out the lights, because he gets very disoriented if he wakes up in complete darkness.

Wait one hour. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Did I mention he also sleepwalks a bit?

And thus proceeds my evening ritual.

Gram C. (my mother's mother) was fond of the comic strip "Family Circus". After once hearing The Snore, Gram sent me a clipped Family Circus strip in which the mother first laments her husband's snoring, and then after a conversation with her own mother where she talks about how much she misses her deceased spouse, the mother goes to bed the next night, now happily hearing her husband's snores as virtual music to her ears.

Bullshit. Heart-tugging, male-conceived propagada intended to convince a nagging wife that she is in the wrong when she complains about the noise.

Do I snore myself? Of course I do. But let me tell you. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, compares to the sheer volume this man puts out. It's impressive, in a way. I've even caught the cats staring at him on occasion with something resembling awe in their golden-green eyes. To them, it must sound like the most contented purr in the world. And so it is. Aside from the occasional bout of sleep apnea (hence the sleepwalking), he generally sleeps like a baby. The sleep apnea is a problem, of course, but it's a problem for another day. Today, there is finally peace in our home.

I fought for years to try and sleep in the same bed at the same time. And what a fight it was: I poked, I prodded, I cried, I screamed, I tossed, we both turned, we sometimes fought, and in the end all that happened is that we've both lost a lot of sleep. So I've given up. I'm not really certain where this concept of "married couples have to sleep in the same bed in the same room" came from in my world. My parents always did, my grandparents always did, so I guess I figured that's what married couples do. But why? I mean, the fun bits are when you're both awake, right? No need to mess up perfectly good sleep just to keep a tradition.

Really, a good door solves so many problems. I can't believe it took this many years to figure that out.

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