Maybe people who sleep with their cell phones clutched in their hands like electronic security blankets are used to it. For the rest of us, though, there’s a particular kind of dread that comes with being jolted out of a deep sleep by a ringing telephone in the middle of the night.
The sound wakes up the primitive part of the brain with a surge of adrenaline that has it screaming “Red alert! Run! Fight! Do something!” As you stagger out of bed, your heart thumping, the thinking part of the brain blearily catalogs possible calamities. Car accidents? Fires? Falls? Emergency rooms?
We received one of those calls last night. Well, at 1:43 a.m. today, to be precise. Yesterday was a stressful day, beginning at 5:00 a.m., with quite enough drama in and of itself, thank you. So as I staggered more or less upright, fumbled to find my glasses, and tiptoe-trotted across the chilly floor to find the phone in the dark, the closest thing to a coherent thought I had was, “Now what? We don’t need this.”
I said something that may have been “Hello?” No response. I said it again. Then a polite, even tentative male voice said, “Um . . . I was wondering if you would be willing to listen to me while . . .” And then my sleep-fogged mind cleared enough to realize this was a genuine, honest-to-goodness obscene phone call.
Too startled to even get mad, I just barked, “No,” and hung up.
It wasn’t till I was back in bed, trying to relax enough to go back to sleep while I hoped he wouldn’t call back, that I thought of some of the things I could have said. Words like “creep” and “idiot” and “slimy” figured in many of them.
Most likely, it’s just as well I left it at “no.” An outraged response was probably exactly what he was hoping for.
Finally, I did go back to sleep. It helped to focus on being grateful that at least the phone call didn’t involve any calamities. There were no injuries, blood, tears, or trips to the emergency room.
Had I met Mr. Wake-People-Up-Obscenely in person, however, there might have been.