Sounds, thoughts and dreams that borderline as nightmares seem scarier in the middle of the night than they would in the middle of the day.
Say I have a dream of an old woman sitting in a rocking chair, knitting.
If I wake up at 3:30am, this dream is a NIGHTMARE. Who is this woman? What are her intentions? Why is she in my living room watching the DVR’d season premiere of Dancing With the Stars?
If I wake up at 8am, this dream is just another dream.
If I think about the old woman dream hours later in the day, I laugh at myself for being scared at all of this sweet lady.
Yes, 95% of my dreams include the same old woman knitting.
Last night I awoke suddenly at 5:40am. It was early. My alarm was set for 7:50am.
It was still dark out.
I heard the low hum of fog horns in the distance. I live in Staten Island which is a crowded borough of New York City. There are many house and too many cars. Where were these fog horns coming from?
I thought of my sister sleeping down the hall.
My mind sprinted. “The government is sending pedestrians warning signals,” I told myself.
“The fog horns are morse coding S.O.S.” I put my face into my pillow. “What are they trying to tell us?”
I honestly thought there was going to be a terrorist attack.
I imagined there were men up and down the block waiting to break into houses and kill us.
This sounds crazy. In 24 years of life, I’d never heard these horns while being at my house.
I have been reading the Steve Jobs biography.
I thought his quote from the Stanford Commencement Address, “Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
“His quote is so true,” I told myself. Any worries I had the day before (Do I drink too much coffee? Should I spend more time outdoors? Did the Mob Wives: The Sit Down After Show I watched half of last night make me stupider?) didn’t matter now that I was in the face of death.
I thought about waking up my sister. But I didn’t want to scare her.
My parents weren’t home. I thought about going into my their bedroom and turning on the TV. I don’t have a TV in my room. But just because I could drown out the fog horns with a re-run of “George Lopez”, didn’t mean the fog horns/terrorism/death went away.
I picked up my laptop from the floor.
I googled “Staten Island” and “Fog Horns”. I imagined someone would be posting at the exact moment about hearing the fog horn too. Irrelevant results appeared.
I heard my sister open her bedroom door. I waited a minute. I opened my bedroom door and walked into the hallway.
She was walking to the bathroom.
“Do you hear that noise?” I asked.
“What noise,” she asked worried.
“The fog horn,” I said taking a gulp.
“Oh yeah, that’s from the Ferry. It happens all the time when it’s foggy,” she said.
The fog horns warn other boats in the harbor when it is hard to navigate due to fog.
I was so relieved. I kissed my sister on the head.
I went back to my bedroom.
I tried to fall asleep. The fog horn sounded like a vibrating phone.
It kept me awake.
I took a deep breath. I had nothing to worry about.
I fell asleep.
It was very foggy on my morning commute.
Here is a picture going over the bridge around 9:15am.