I was fast asleep last night when I was woken by a large ‘SQUEAK!’ It was right in my ear and my first thought was ‘Mouse!’
I yelled loudly enough to wake up Iain who had heard nothing but he very kindly and patiently had a quick look underneath the bed and declared the room as mouse-free. He said he didn’t think it was very likely there was a mouse in the house, (or to be exact ‘a moose in the hoose’, he’s from Glasgow), and now I was completely wide awake, I agreed with him.
A distant memory
As I drifted back to sleep it gradually dawned on me that I had had such an experience before, and then I remembered. Many years ago (probably 30+) I took my father on a trip to The Gambia, in Africa. At the time the place was relatively new to tourism and there were only a few hotels, although, I believe it is a thriving tourist area now. My father and I shared a large room with beds adjacent to each other. Our bedroom was in a block a few minutes’ walk from the main hotel.
We had made friends with a few people and formed a sort of informal group. One night over dinner several people mentioned that they had seen large rats in an area of the grounds near our accommodation block. Walking back in the pitch-black I was very careful where I walked.
Shortly after I fell asleep I was awoken by a loud squeaking sound. I sat upright in bed, heart racing and turned on the light. There was nothing to be seen, my Father turned over but didn’t wake up. I turned the light off and drifted back to sleep, until … there it was again! Same thing, I sat up turned on the light and looked for a rodent presence – but nothing. This time I turned off the light but stayed awake and yes! After a few minutes, I heard it again, it was definitely in the room. I deduced (very Sherlock Holmes) that ‘it’, didn’t like the light but it felt confident to move around and squeak in the dark. Right, I was on to it!
Plan of attack
I woke my father up and told his rather sleepy and slightly inebriated self we had at least one rat in the room, maybe more. So, we turned all the lights on and search every inch of the bedroom and bathroom, looking for any access points, evidence of droppings, food etc. Nothing. Eventually, we decided to go back to sleep.
I was feeling reassured now, but just in case I decided to stay awake a bit longer. Eventually, it started again but this time, I listened more intently. The noise lasted longer than I imagined a traditional rodent squeak would and it also appeared to be coming from the area near my Father’s bed. I bravely (it was brave) got up and walked over trying to pinpoint where the noise was coming from.
It was from his bed! Not on the ground and then I discovered the source of the squeak. It was his teeth! My Dad, was grinding his teeth and so hard that they squeaked. When I turned on the light it was enough to disturb his sleep and stop him grinding but not enough to wake him up.
Apparently, he had been doing this for years but it was something that had never come up in conversation before. So, mystery solved, I went back to bed. I’d like to say, I slept soundly for the rest of night/holiday but if you have ever shared a room or a bed with someone with a repertoire of teeth grinding and intermittent snoring, you might appreciate the challenge of such an arrangement.
So, on reflection, last night it is most likely that I heard myself grinding my teeth. I’ve known that I clench my teeth in my sleep because I occasionally I bite my tongue or cheek, but perhaps I too have got to the squeaky stage – like Father like daughter.
I’ve occasionally been woken up by the sound of a small pig-like animal. Easy, that must be Iain, but strangely it happens when he is away too – I can’t imagine what that can be!
Please note: I am an early riser and frequently wake up with thoughts and questions on my mind. I write them down and record them in these short unedited, un-researched, unscientific bits of writing. They are written in a half asleep hypnopompic state and should not be regarded as anything more than what they are – random thoughts and musings. For sensible subjects and writing please visit Positive Psychology Learning website