The Thing with the Ticking

     I drive Husband crazy with my eternal quest for the Perfect Sleeping Environment. I must have the following things in order to have a very good night’s sleep: (in no particular order, they are all equally important):

     1. Dark – Lots of dark. I spent the night at this girl’s house once in high school and she and her sister had applied copious amounts of tin foil to their bedroom windows such that when the door was closed and the lights turned off, there was no seeing anything. Your eyes never adjusted. I spent half the night trying to see my hand in front of my face and trying not to think about going to the bathroom since I couldn’t see the door or the two other people in the room. It was great.

     2. Quiet – I enjoy a little quiet music or ocean waves at first, but then can we just turn off everything? Husband likes the whir of fans. I feel like the Grinch when complaining about those loud Whoos. “If there’s one thing I hate…oh the noise, noise, noise noise!”

     3. Blankets – I’m like Goldilocks here. Can’t be too thick or too thin, it has to be juuuuust right.

     4. Temperature – I think you’ll all agree with me that a cold room is not only healthier but more conducive to sleep.

     Many times, as a guest in other people’s homes, I have slept in guest rooms where the hosts have placed a timepiece that insists on ticking. Or they have a conveniently located DVD player attached to the guest TV that creates a floodlight-like experience in a darkened room.

    When I went to India for my friend’s wedding, I slept in her bedroom and she slept in the guest room. Darkness wasn’t a problem in the southern India in the middle of a teeny town. But there was a clock. It was an innocuous eighties-style clock, gold plastic and a little gold plastic pendulum. The first night I sat there in bed wishing I could just fall asleep but like the ever-beating heart in Poe’s story, it just got louder and louder. Finally, I got up and pulled it off the wall intending to find a new home for it. There were no dresser drawers, no places to put it. I finally found a nail in the en suite bathroom which didn’t exactly fit the clock’s hanger hook thingy, but it was 1 a.m. and I was fed up with it.

     My intention was to return the clock to its original position first thing in the morning and move it every night. At some point that first night, I was awoken out of a sound sleep by a noise. Oh the noise! In my curry-induced stupor I fell back to sleep, not realizing it was the samurai clock leaping off the wall in the shame that I had dismissed it to the bathroom.

    Now I’d done it. Broken my host’s bedroom clock. How typically American of me. I put the pieces on the bed and went to shower thinking of a way to politely explain my accident. While I was in the shower, the housekeeper, a young woman who would later inquire anxiously about the location of my other ankle bracelet (I had one one that my mom gave me before I left but apparently only Indian prostitutes wear just one anklet…), had cleaned the room – made the bed, swept the floor…and disposed of the clock.

     I have no idea what they thought about the clock incident. I told my friend I broke it and she laughingly dismissed it. I can’t imagine what the housekeeper told the cook or my friend’s mother. “I found this clock destroyed in pieces on the bathroom floor. Clearly the American hates clocks and wishes to break them.”

     In a hotel room in Miami earlier this year, I was on a business trip and staying and a fancy schmancy hotel. (How fancy schmancy? Well, Avril Levigne was staying there at the same time and I got shooed away by her bodyguard. How’s that for fancy?) The smoke detector had an obnoxiously bright light, green and blinky, that was like something from a landing strip. Thinking of course that I’d just remove it before I left, I climbed up on the dresser and applied one of my emergency band aids to the blinking light. Verrrry effective. I wonder if anybody has noticed that the smoke alarm seems to have a boo boo…because I forgot to remove it.



**Amusing side note: My spam blocker caught this gem after I posted the above:

Direct contact with ticks frequently results in tick infestation.


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