10:15 p.m. After “goodnights” all around, I climb into the cab of our new pickup. I have graciously offered to sleep in the truck while my husband and son take the tent, which is designed to fit into the truck bed.
I soon realize I’ll be able to feel every move they make all night long, and they move a lot. Later, they tell me I do too. I think I probably would have moved less if I’d actually slept. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
10:35 p.m. I’m just dozing off when I become aware of a flash on the dash—no poem intended. Being unfamiliar with the truck, I have no idea what it is, but I’m sure it’s bad. I holler for my husband who crawls out of his sleeping bag and out of the tent . He takes one look at the flash, covers it with a sweatshirt, and crawls back in. Obviously he’s worried.
Apparently, the flash was the seatbelt warning light. I am after sleeping on the seat. Why, I wonder, does our new truck need to warn me that my seatbelt isn’t buckled when it’s parked with the engine off? I wouldn’t think there’s much danger of being hurled from a vehicle that’s sitting still.
10:55 p.m. Suddenly, I hear a faint rapid honking coming from…our truck. It’s not as loud as the honks I get when I cut in front other drivers, but I sense it’s working up to it. Frantic, I search for my keys. My husband crawls out of his sleeping bag and out of the tent and comes to the door looking like he may indeed hurl me from the truck. Instead, he asks me in so many words, “What did you do now?” I swear I didn’t do anything. I find my keys and stop the beeping. He crawls back in with a little more movement than I think is necessary. It’s very hard to relax when I don’t know why our truck did that and if it might do it again.
11:10 p.m. It does. Incidentally, panic is exactly what you do when your panic button is activated in the middle of a sleeping campground—twice. This time my husband stops the sound without getting out of the truck. He assures me he must have bumped his keyless entry transmitter—and that he probably did it both times.
11:25 p.m. After all the excitement, I’m wide awake. That’s okay. It’s beautiful outside my window with the moon on the pine trees and the sky filled with stars. And, I remind myself, I’ll awaken to the sunrise, my favorite part of the day—if I’m asleep yet.
11:50 p.m. I doze momentarily. Then I become aware of a tickle on the back of my neck. Was it a strand of hair brushing my skin, or was it a tick? And what about that itch on my back? And on my leg? Suddenly, I’m crawling with ticks. No, I tell myself. I’m not crawling with anything; I just feel like I am. Or maybe I have poison ivy.
12:30 p.m. What? Do I have to go to the bathroom? If I have to ask, I probably do. No, that’s impossible; I cut back on liquids. Still…
There is NO WAY I’m getting out of the truck now. It’s cold out there—and dark. And what if I set off the alarm again? I can wait. For five hours?
12:45 a.m. I do what I have to do. The night air is invigorating! But invigorated is not how I want to feel right now.
1: 30 a.m. (or sometime thereafter.) Finally, I fall asleep.
5:15 a.m. The sun rises—I guess.
(You can contact Dorothy at [email protected] or see www.dorothyrosby.com.)
Sleepless, restless under the night stars