HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

July 30, 2007

Pleasant dreams and rude awakenings

On the night of Tuesday, July 10, I went to bed with the wonderful feeling of knowing that I got to sleep-in the next morning until about 9 a.m.

I would have laughed hysterically three months ago if someone had said to me that 9 a.m. is considered sleeping-in.

For the second semester of my freshman year at St. Cloud State, I ingeniously rigged my schedule so that my earliest class was at 10 a.m.; and that was only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

On the remaining three days of the week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), I didn’t have class until 11 a.m. On Fridays I was done by 1 p.m.

It was wonderful.

Needless to say, adjusting to working 30-40 hours a week, going to bed before 2 in the morning, and having my days begin at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. every day has been interesting.

Knowing that I could sleep until 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11 was a small comfort in what has been shaping up to be a very long summer.

Now that I have your most sincere sympathies (especially those of you who have been maintaining my temporary summer schedule for years), I’ll tell you what happened on the morning of July 11 that still has me sleeping with a night-light on in my room.

I had been out cold for a number of hours when something disturbed me from my treasured sleep. My first reaction was to look at the clock.

It read 3 a.m.

“Lovely,” I thought sarcastically to myself. “Oh well, I still have six more hours.” Then I rolled over and had every intention of resuming my coma-like slumber. I was still only half-awake.

Then I heard something.

It was a fluttering noise that vaguely reminded me of a bird zooming over my head.

I dismissed it as a bout of paranoia, which is common for me to deal with at night.

Until I heard it again and it didn’t stop.

I hurled my blankets over my head and shuddered at the only reasonable explanation I could think of for the noise.

But I was being irrational. I mean, how could a BAT possibly get into my room?

My thoughts were stirring. “I’ve lived in this house for almost 20 years and there’s never been a bat in here. But . . . AHHHH! There’s that noise again!”

Cowering under my covers, I decided that I needed to formulate a plan.

At this point, I wasn’t even remotely groggy, and ideas circled through my brain just like I pictured the bat was circling around my room like some vertigo stricken, winged rat.

My first plan was to grab my cell phone from my night stand and use the light to confirm the fact that there was actually a bat in my room.

Then I feared that the nasty thing would be attracted to light and would attack my hand.

My next idea involved me calling the house phone and making one of my parents come rescue me.

But what if they opened the door and let the prisoner escape into the rest of the house?

From time to time I’d doubt that there was even something in the room . . . until I’d hear it again.

Sweating from being trapped under my blankets, I finally decided that I needed to make a break for it.

After about 10 minutes of repeatedly counting to three, I took off for the door like a bat out of hell (pun definitely intended).

I escaped, slammed the door behind me, and did what any mature adult would do.

I told my mommy.

She gave me a horrified look, replied, “Oh God!” and then went downstairs yelling for my dad who was already getting ready for work (yes, at 3:30 a.m. Shockingly, my dad has no sympathy for my summer adjustment to the working world).

He went upstairs to my room with a rolled-up newspaper, and returned with an unconscious bat.

Disgusted, creeped out, and horrified, I returned to the scene, questioning if I would get any more sleep that morning.

I tried to sleep, but my irrational fears consumed me, and I thought vaguely of the possibility of a whole nest of bats residing comfortably in my closet.

To distract myself, I turned on the TV. I fell asleep eventually. But, needless to say I didn’t get the undisturbed night of sleep that I was looking forward to.

However, I did get a pretty decent story.