Friday, September 5, 2008

Getting lost

Last night I had an experience that proved once again that I am not cut out for country life. It's not just the ticks and mosquitoes—about which I am phobic—it's the dark and silent nights. Other and I spent the night alone in the country house of our friends DP and JS in one of three bedrooms on the second floor. It was so quiet I felt as if I were wearing foam earplugs and so dark I felt as if I were wearing eye patches—only I couldn't remove the deafeners and blinders. At first it didn't bother me. But in the middle of the night I had to pee. I somehow teleported myself in the dark (didn't want to wake Other) into the bathroom across from our bedroom. Then ... I couldn't find my way back. Afraid that I would tumble down the stairs, I got down on my hands and knees and groped around for the correct doorway. I couldn't find it. So there I was in the middle of the night, 58 years old but crawling around like a baby, patting furniture and door lintels and fingering carpets and getting rug burns on my knees, trying to visualize where I was. The longer I crawled around, the more disoriented I got. I considered curling up where I was and waiting for dawn, but that seemed insane even to me. After about 15 minutes—really, that long—I found myself back in the bathroom. I reached up and turned on the light just long enough to aim myself toward the correct bedroom, where I launched myself back into bed. Lying there, trying to calm down, I was washed by doubt that I had installed myself in the right bed. I reached over and touched Other to reassure myself. There he was, fast asleep. He'd slept through the whole drama. So much for experts who recommend complete darkness for optimal sleep. I'll take the melatonin-crushing ambient light of city life anytime.

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