An alarm woke me up yesterday morning. That’s how it usually happens. The thing that was different about this particular morning was that the alarm was not familiar to me. My alarm slowly drifts in with soft music, like birds on a warm day. This alarm was the sudden blasting Beep Beep kind that I had thought was outlawed back in the 90s. Also, it was only 4:00. I decided once, when I was young, that when I grew up and became a man that made his own choices in life that I would never be awake at 4:00 in the morning. Being awake at 4:00 is what I imagine being drunk is like, therefore in my young mind I was convinced it was literally a very ungodly time of day to be awake. I made a pact with myself while standing in line at an airport ticket counter to always be asleep at 4:00 for the rest of my life.
Yesterday I blinked awake at 4:00 and struggled to come to terms with the painful noise that was echoing through the room. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness I also tried to figure out how I had gone to bed several hour earlier with my wife and was now waking up alone in a bed with only my 4 year old daughter. In the shadowy confusion of the moment, my 4AM mind had this sensation that perhaps something had happened to shrink my wife while I was sleeping. Maybe I had awoken in a rejected Twilight Zone timeline, and I would spend the rest of the day fumbling my way through a modern reenactment of Gulliver’s Travels. My friends and coworkers would now all be half my size, and I would clumsily break things in comical fashion until they all decided to tie me up with thread and set me adrift in the ocean. But then there was the beeping sound still. And my brain regained its balance and demanded I stop worrying about who was sleeping where, and instead locate and destroy the source of the mind melting siren.
I traced the sound until it lead me to fall off the edge of the bed. My feet were still completely tangled in the blankets above, but my head was firmly planted in the carpet. I lay immobile and in slight pain for a moment. But I realized the sound was actually louder on the floor. So, crawling around my bedroom like a cartoon dog dragging his head in the dirt in search of rabbits. I finally located the loudest spot. It was the dark cavern underneath my wife’s dresser. Reaching my arm into this awful place, I extended my fingers until they almost touched the wall. This is where I found a small plastic kitchen timer. I violently mashed at the buttons until the alarm finally died. Although, I couldn’t be completely sure because my head was still full of the phantom noise ringing in my ears.
All I can deduce is that one of my daughters planned an elaborate prank, perhaps unknowingly, perhaps maliciously, setting the timer for some 12 hour count down and then hiding it in the most remote spot in the room. As I remade the bed and climbed back in I realized that Clara had not moved the entire time. Lilliputians are such sound sleepers. It almost makes up for their mischievous nature.