Woken, at who-knows-what-time, the sky was falling in. I’ve heard that sound before, I’d know it anywhere. It’s a primal sound, the response to which has been passed down through many generations of baffled parents.
It goes: “Oh! The sky is falling in! Hang on, wait, no. We’ve been through this, it’s thunder isn’t it?”
And then humanity progresses, and we start to live in houses, and it goes: “Oh! The roof is falling in! Are we insured?! Hang on, wait, no. We’ve been through this, it’s thunder isn’t it?”
And then we become parents, living in houses, with kids asleep in a bedroom upstairs, and it goes: “Oh! The kids! Hang on…thunder…so…tired…just…sleep.”
My response to thunder at who-knows-what-time is as good a barometer as any about my current status as a grown-up human. It’s a very predictable indicator.
Like I said, primal. Instinctive.
Which is why, when it goes awry, it’s unsettling.
I recently found myself alone in a house normally crawling with wives and kids.* Before you call the police, they were away on a camping holiday.
Leaving me, home alone, for three days.
I retired to bed, alone, and ready to submit to the blissful sleep of a man about to get the full eight hours, uninterrupted. Only to be interrupted. By the sky falling in.
I awoke bolt upright, confused.
It went: “Oh! The sky is falling in! Hang on, wait, no. Oh! The roof is falling in! Are we insured?! Hang on, wait, no. Wives…kids…Oh! The kids! Hang on, we’ve been through this, it’s thunder isn’t it?”
Which is quite a rapid fire train of thought to process at who-knows-what-time with a brain all fuzzed up by the blissful sleep of a man getting the full eight hours uninterrupted and then being interrupted.
All of which is avoiding the issue: that after one night alone I have accidentally become a bad person.
In my role as co-protector of two small human beings, a role for which I, like many others before me, never read the small print before committing, I have been on high alert for over six years for sounds of unsettled children at night.
And now, I’ve been alone for a mere twenty-four hours, and they’ve slipped down the pecking order of who-knows-what-time behind sky gods, and competitively priced home insurance cover.
And worst of all I shoved them down the pecking order, realised, and then still drifted off for the final four hours of my allotted eight hours uninterrupted. Untroubled by the moral consequences of this reordering.
And worst of worst of all, my main concern now is that it doesn’t thunder tonight and I get my full eight hours uninterrupted, uninterrupted.
It’s a glimpse of the childless me currently living somewhere in a parallel universe. Probably concerned about the quality of his sleep and the reasonableness of his home insurance.
Clearly a selfish, selfish man.
*For the record, one wife. That’s all. I’m playing fast and loose with language for stylistic effect. It’s what we bloggers do. Rules…pssshhhfftt!