For several months now I've been awakened by phantom beeps. These completely realistic auditory dreams are a by-production of our 24/7/365 high-tech civilization colliding with our solstice-equinox prehistoric low-tech subconscious survival system.
Nighttime phantom beeps sound like the signal for a received text message,or possibly the low battery alert on my cellphone. They could be the tone that indicates a blocked pop-up window on my computer. Maybe a truck is backing-up and about to smash into my condo after midnight. Could a spider be living it up inside the smoke detector? Is the microwave reminding me about a Tupperware container of reheated lentil soup? Are permanent press clothes staging a wrinkle fest in the dryer?
Please tell me I didn't fall asleep on the job scanning returned book barcodes at the library? Did Norton Antivirus just restart my computer after downloading updates? Hope I'm not flashing back to those nights in my dad's hospital room across the hall from the elevator. Heaven help me if I'm sleep-walking through the self-check at the grocery store. Am I supposed to record my message after the tone?
Each phantom beep leaves me groggy, and groping for the digital clock on the bedside table. It's 3:33 or 4:58 a.m. and adrenalin has kicked in. Wide awake now, I have bonus hours for adventures in anxiety!
These auditory dreams or hallucinations don't seem fair after all the years being awakened by crying, hungry babies and frightened toddlers. Not to mention all the teen parenting years subconsciously listening for sirens, car doors, and keys in the lock. My nest is empty, but I've got a nighttime brood of demanding beeps. Maybe I'm just a tad over-stressed.
© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder