Because I’m old, I have trouble sleeping. Part of it I blame on the feeble workings of what’s left of an abused conscience.
I’ll be trying to nod off when suddenly the image of a Sunday school teacher crying pops into my head.
Sister Lookiss was nice and didn’t deserve having an unmedicated chimp in her class. So I flinch when the memory comes unbidden, and wish I could go back, and change what I did.
Note: It probably comes as no surprise that this happens to me a lot.
Then there’s noise. Anything out of the ordinary will wake me — the floor creaking, a gun being cocked, the refrigerator door opening. A cat fart once brought me out of bed reaching for a weapon.
Oddly, there are loud noises, startling to most people, that won’t even register on my sleep-dulled senses. Two of the most common ones — according to the complaints from others — are sirens and helicopters.
My house is perfectly plotted for both. Our back fence faces a major traffic artery in Herriman. Lately, fire engines and police vehicles have been darting around a lot. I know only about the ones during the day. My wife has to tell me about the ones at night.
I credit police work for my ability to sleep through sirens. I don’t recognize the wail as something to fret about. In fact, subconsciously I might even be comforted by it because it means help is on the way.
Yup, something bad is happening somewhere, but I know that there are women and men out there willing to get between it and my family. I don’t begrudge them the noise they require to get there in a hurry.
Trust me, one of the sweetest sounds in the world — especially if you’re fighting two filthy road bums in the middle of nowhere — is the wailing of approaching sirens. It’s like … I don’t know … angels singing.
My house is also under the flight path between the South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan and Camp Williams, which is just over the mountain. Some days it’s nonstop roaring rotors as Blackhawks and Apaches go back and forth.
I’m a military brat, raised on Air Force bases and Army posts. The background noise of my formative years is the sound of Thunderchiefs and Hueys soaring overhead at all hours.
Lately, I’m particularly partial to the thump-thump-thump of helicopters. Again, I know it means there are people training to put themselves between my loved ones and horribleness. And some of them might die doing it in faraway places.
So, I’m not going to complain even if Blackhawks start fast-roping special-op forces into my immediate neighborhood. Hell, I might not even wake up.
On a personal note, I also love helicopters because they remind me of morphine. If you’re badly hurt and REALLY want to go to sleep, there’s nothing like the sound of an approaching dust-off.
Those sounds are not only necessary but beneficial to all of us. Either you get used to it or you relocate. Maybe you invest in earplugs, because they aren’t going to stop. Thank, God.