Note: This post originally appeared on my first blog, found HERE.
A smoke detector started chirping randomly in the middle of the night. Seriously, is there anything worse?
The answer to that question is, of course, yes. Duh. There is something worse. For example, your house burning down to the ground because you didn’t know the batteries weren’t working in your smoke detector–that would be worse.
But, still… It does suck. You probably know the drill. You get up and try to find the source of the annoying chirping, which isn’t as easy as it seems because unless you are standing right underneath the offending detector at the exact right moment, you can’t be sure where it’s coming from. So you move from room to room, standing under each smoke detector in the dark until you hear the chirp again.
Once you find the right smoke detector, you have to make sure you have a battery. And of course, it doesn’t take your ordinary AA battery that you buy in bulk because there’s nothing worse than when your son’s Xbox controller runs out of batteries and there aren’t any replacements in the house. No, this thing takes a 9V, one of those rectangle-shaped batteries that you never need for anything else in modern life. So you have to dig through the kitchen junk drawer, and then through your other kitchen junk drawer, until at last you put your hands on one.
Finally, you have to drag a chair underneath the detector, and then make your husband climb on top of it to change the battery as you cross your fingers and pray that the reason this battery was in the auxiliary junk drawer isn’t because it’s a used one that someone set out on the kitchen counter when they were changing batteries during the last smoke detector crisis that you found and weren’t sure if you should throw away or not, so you tossed into the junk drawer. So you stand there for a couple moments, and, voila…. no more chirping!
Whew, glad that’s over, right?
Not so fast. Now comes the daunting task of… falling back to sleep.
So I climb back in bed and try to quiet my mind. But my mind is not having any of that. No, my mind has decided that now is the time to start to worry about little things like our country getting nuked or my kids getting sent off to war in response to a carelessly worded tweet that, um, *someone* might have decided to send overnight. I toss and turn and ponder worst-case scenarios for awhile, and then try doing some yoga breathing to calm down and relax.
Doing yoga breathing reminds me that if I don’t fall asleep soon, I’m going to have a hard time waking up for my yoga class in the morning. And I can’t miss yoga class because I’ve already signed up for it and I don’t want to be docked $10 from my punch card. That’s the worst.
Then I start thinking about how ridiculous this sounds, and how my friend Catherine would remind me that these are first-world problems. And she should know, because Catherine is a good person. She is a first-world university professor, but she has devoted much of her life to helping third-world women in Kenya. I start thinking about how she has helped so many Maasai girls by raising money to send them to school and to buy women goats so they can be economically independent. And that naturally leads me to think: What the hell have I ever done?
So then I start a mental checklist of my own personal volunteer work, and I come up with things like PTO Secretary, Sunday School Teacher, Junior Golf Coordinator, Booster Club President… and I think: Lame, Lame, Lame, Lame. I’m seriously the worst. So now my worries turn to what I’m ever going to do to make a real difference in the world before I die. But before too long, I’m worrying about making it to yoga class again.
I debate getting up, getting a glass of water, and doing something boring like the magazine articles always tell you to do when you can’t sleep, such as ironing. But there’s nothing in the world I hate more than ironing. It’s the worst. And if I get out of bed again, my dog is going to think it is morning and he’s going to want to go outside to pee. And if I take him out in the dark, he could end up running into a skunk, or getting eaten by a bear, or rolling in the huge pile of deer poop we discovered in the back yard yesterday. And, oh, that reminds me, if there is deer poop in my back yard, that means there are deer hanging out around my house, which means there are bound to be deer ticks, and did I remember to give my dog the flea & tick treatment this month? I should really put a reminder on my phone about that. Ticks are the worst.
So I stay put, I shut my eyes, and I remind myself that as long as I am resting, it’ll all be fine. And somehow, eventually, I manage to drift back to sleep, only to be awoken for good when my husband’s alarm goes off, one full hour before I need to be awake. Ugh. That is the WORST.