I've always been hypersensitive to strange noises. It's one of the things that made living in the city such a drag. I could never stand to hear something and not know the source. When you live in a duplex, with an apartment building out your back window and a house full of teenagers across the driveway, there are too many distracting sounds. I was never fully relaxed, the whole twelve years I lived there.
It's no wonder I slept so badly there. It's quieter out here in the country, but it's not silent. And many of the sounds I hear are unfamiliar. I'm used to the birds by now, and the wind whistling through the trees, and the creaking of the boards in the house. The traffic on the road across the field from my bedroom window is the kind of background noise it's easy to ignore. (This is why it's so hard to figure why I don't sleep better here.)
The noise that woke me up this morning was a loud "ping." I couldn't tell what direction it was coming from, or if it was inside or out, even after I heard it the second time about a minute later. It was about seven o'clock, and it woke me from a sound sleep that had lasted only about three hours at the time. That's the main reason I wasn't inclined to get up and investigate. I rolled over and went back to sleep.
My irrational thoughts at the time were that it was a bird hitting the satellite dish, or a coil on the refrigerator snapping. When I finally got up and remembered that something had happened, it was too late to figure out what. It obviously wasn't either of the possibilities I'd considered in my earlier befuddled muddle.
It was something, though. I wouldn't have allowed myself to wake up enough even to think about it if I hadn't heard something that made an impression on my unconscious brain. I wonder why I chose to ignore it instead of peeking through the blinds and around the drapes throughout the house.
Even in the city, I never really worried about the cause of the noise, or believed something needed my attention. I never had the sense that someone was breaking into the house, or doing any damage nearby enough for me to hear. I just hated being at the mercy of other people, didn't like having the sonic overflow of their lives jangling inside my brain. I needed to pinpoint the source, so I could direct my anger. That's all there was to it.
I never got to know most of my neighbors there, but I was aware of their habits, their comings and goings, because the sounds they made put me on the alert. Yes, I was one of those snooping neighborhood characters who had to know what was going on all around.
So wouldn't you think when I heard a strange metallic sound in the middle of the night, I'd be up and investigating without even thinking about it? If I'd heard the same thing a year ago, at the old place, I wouldn't have slept until I'd exhausted every possible explanation. I'd have been bouncing around the house, probably pounding on walls or slamming doors. My temperament was as edgy as the city outside my window.
Here I'm as serene as the waving grasses and chirping sparrows that I share this place with. The only sound that gets me up and running is the starlings gathering in the side yard. I'm at the window in a flash, chasing them off. Other than that, I can't be bothered with fussing and fidgeting over every little bang, clang or ping in the night.