I Am Alive, Awake, and Scared

Why, even the muggers are off
The streets by eight

Oh, relax, y’all. I’m still alive. Bikram yoga hasn’t killed me yet, tho it is seriously cramping my style.

How so?

From the Bikram Web site:

You might find yourself feeling extremely energetic and experience difficulty sleeping. Don’t worry—you don’t have insomnia. You just have more time to do the things you enjoy.

OK yeah but see at night what I enjoy is sleeping. I don’t care to stay up late. Or get up early. There are plenty of hours in a day for me to do all the things I need to do. After my first yoga class I said cheerfully to myself, “I may have broken my torso, but I’ll sleep good tonight!” So imagine my distress when, at 2:25, I was wide awake, filled with useless, stupid energy.

And terror.

Because it’s 2:25. THE WITCHING HOUR! Look, I don’t really know when or even what The Witching Hour is, but when I was a kid (and, apparently, still), the scary hours of nighttime were between midnight and four AM. Right? I always felt like if I woke up after 4, yes, it was still dark, but nothing bad would happen. Too close to daylight. But 2:25? That’s killin’ time.

I blame my chiropractor for my increased night terrors. At every appointment we talk excitedly of our favorite horror movies, describing the scariest scenes, goriest murders, and most unnerving and disturbing moments. Last week he told me about an especially creepy Tales of the Crypt episode.

“Can I stay here today?” I asked in a quavering voice. The thought of returning to my empty house, probably now filled with paranormal entities and homicidal Santa Clauses, was unappealing to say the least.

Also not helping matters, I think we have a Blair Witch fan. The fan sits atop a wicker hamper, and every so often, I hear a crackling noise coming from its vicinity. The fan is obviously moving around on the hamper. No way am I going over there to check out the noise, but I have actually been brave enough to sit up in bed and look at it. Nothing. Then, when I lie back down and try to calm my breathing . . . “crackle crackle crackle.”


So I lie there, energized and terrified. It’s not a good combination. I could get up and watch TV, but what if that Tales of the Crypt episode is on EVERY CHANNEL? It could happen.

I finally felt my body start to relax around 4:05 AM. You know how as you’re falling into a light sleep, you get these bizarre thoughts that pop into your head? Thoughts that can sound like voices? Voices that are so real? And scary?

As I slipped into a troubled doze, a thought-voice whispered in my ear:

If you look over the fence, you can see they’re only cooking boys.

Yeah. I think I’ll just get up. I have things to do.

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35 Responses to “I Am Alive, Awake, and Scared”

  1. 1 Shieldmaiden1196

    Jeebus on a Ten Speed, “You just have more time to do the things you enjoy” has to be one of the most irritatingly optimistic things I’ve ever heard. Because usually when I’m wide awake at Stupid O’ Clock its not because of things I enjoy, unless I enjoy staring into the darkness contemplating the state of my soul, my relative disappointment in what I’ve accomplished by age forty, and why I can never seem to stay on top of my housework. Which I do NOT.

  2. 2 puglette

    happy to have you back!! i have a very specific witching hour that has made itself known to me this year. i seem to wake up at the exact same time, 3:33am. this happens at least once a week, for some unknown reason. and what was really odd last tuesday was when penny woke me up, at 3:33am, squeaking her dog toy. she was on the floor in the bedroom, squeaking away, staring at me with her laser dog eyes.

    i tell you, my internal clock is royally screwed up. between hot flashes, demon puppy’s and my own private witching hour….well, my brain cells are melting away at a fabulous rate.

    i am sorry your yoga is keeping you up at night, maybe you can get pru and gus to do some synchronized bisquit making on your shoulders to help you relax.
    .-= puglette´s last blog ..Pug Stuff =-.

  3. 3 Grace

    “If you look over the fence, you can see they’re only cooking boys.” – So don’t want to know where that thought comes from – real or imagined!

    Being a night person, I think I get most rattled at dusk –

    “Between the dark and the daylight,
    When the night is beginning to lower,
    Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
    That is known as the Children’s Hour.” (H.W. Longfellow)

    Kinda ties in a teeny bit with what your thought-voice said – only on the other end of the day….
    .-= Grace´s last blog ..If anyone was looking for me yesterday =-.

  4. 4 Stephanie Barr

    My best work ever happens between midnight and four am. If I had my way, that would be the time I’d be up all the time and I wouldn’t crawl into bed until 4 or 5 and sleep until the following afternoon.

    Unfortunately, the world has conspired against me and I have to get up at six, so I rarely get to stay up past 2.
    .-= Stephanie Barr´s last blog ..Writing Gruntwork =-.

  5. 5 Daisy the Curly Cat

    Skerry noises always happen in the middle of the night! Sounds just like footsteps sneaking around the house!
    .-= Daisy the Curly Cat´s last blog ..Accessories and Alterations =-.

  6. 6 absepa

    Since I have become an (apparently) incurable insomniac, I am often awake at odd times. I don’t know why, but I’ve always hated being the only one awake in the house in the middle of the night. A few times I’ve managed to scare myself so badly that I’ve tried to make just enough noise to wake up my husband, without actually asking him to get up. I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m kind of crazy already, so I don’t really need to provide any more evidence.
    .-= absepa´s last blog ..And me without my adamantium =-.

  7. 7 Ron

    Its sooooooooo great to see ya back, girl!

    Yup…yoga will do that to you sometimes, give you BOUNTIFUL energy, like you just drank 2 espresso’s and ate a bar of Hershey’s Dark Chocolate.


    Me, being a night person, I usually don’t go to bed until 1 a.m. or after. I truly think I have vampire blood in me because I LOVE the night. So for me, Witching/Bitching Hour is whenever I see the sun coming up through my mini blinds – HA!

    OMG, I LOVE scary movies and stuff like Tales of the Crypt!! Sometimes at night, I’ll turn all the lights out in my apartment and sit on the floor with some pillows and a blanket, and watch a scary movie while holding my hands over my eyes; peeking through my fingers!


    .-= Ron´s last blog ..Theres A Secret At Midnight =-.

  8. 8 C.B. Jones

    I used to stay up late all the time as a kid…during summer vay-kay(beta testing some new slang. Apparently, I’m more outdated than a pencil and paper) I’ve watched about every twilight zone episode 12 times already, and haven’t seen a witch yet. I thought I did once, but it was just my brothers girl friend doing the walk of shame as I went back into my room to catch a few ZzZzZz.

    Still wonder she she was cackling during their little alone time.
    .-= C.B. Jones´s last blog ..Im gonna live forever =-.

  9. 9 Lauren

    the scary hours of nighttime were between midnight and four AM. That is so true. After four, you won’t get hacked by a chainsaw in bed. What is it with that? There’s nothing worse then hearing silent loud noises in the dark, something like the beating heart in The Tell-Tale Heart but the story might have taken place during the day, although it might have been cloudy.

    I thought exercise was supposed to make you tired from exercise, not from staying awake all night. Geez. Another Santa Claus misconception rattles my world.

    So glad you’re back!
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Spam Soap — An Oxymoron and Post Extracted from the Blogger Drainpipe =-.

  10. 10 Kathleen Kaufman

    I was almost over my long-standing paranoia about the monsters that attack between 2-4am, and then I saw The Exorcism of Emily Rose and the priest, the damnable priest, goes on about how the devil will get you at 3am. I don’t even logically believe in the devil, but somehow at 3am I can only see crabwalking and angry cats.

    Damn movie.
    .-= Kathleen Kaufman´s last blog ..Five Legal Terms For Everyday Use =-.

  11. 11 Florida Girl in Sydney

    I had no idea those hours were the actual witching hours??!!?

    I love staying up late– if I could sleep until 10 or 11am, I would stay up until 3am every night!

  12. 12 JD

    Shieldmaiden1196: Isn’t that irritating??? I don’t care how wide awake I am, if it’s dark, I want to be sleeping. I have never been one of those people who get up at 3AM and start painting the hallway. I hate those people.

    puglette: Thank you! It’s good to be back. Oh, my gosh. A squeaking pug toy would probably scare the bejesus out of me. I wonder if Penny knows something about 3:33 AM . . . Pru and Gus actually do help relax me. Usually when Gus realizes I’m awake, he moves from my feet to my shoulder and perches there precariously. Aw.

    Grace: I don’t want to know either! What kind of weird stuff is bubbling away in my subconscious? That poem is kind of creepy, isn’t it. It’s interesting that you find dusk to be unsettling. As a day person, I do, too . . . because darkness is about to fall. I’m scared already!

    Stephanie Barr: Oh, boy. How do you survive on so little sleep? It’s too bad you can’t somehow do your job as a freelancer. I can work whatever hours I choose, but I’m programmed to about a 7AM – 3PM.

    Daisy the Curly Cat: YES! They do! Footsteps of killer Santa Clauses!

    absepa: I know! I’ve tried to “accidentally” wake up Dave, too, usually by way of an exaggerated coughing fit. But it doesn’t really work. I’m sorry you’re having trouble with insomnia. I would advise you to stay away from Bikram yoga.

    Ron: It’s sooooooooooo good to be back! I missed everyone. I HATE feeling wired. I think I function better on low energy. Too much, and I’m just all jumpy and unfocused. How much fun would we have at a slumber party? I’d be asleep, but it’d still be fun. It’s a lot less scary when someone else is up, even if they are watching scary movies.

    C.B. Jones: Soooo, how’s that “vay-kay” working out for you? Anyway, I loved Twilight Zone and Creature Features. I remember my parents letting us stay up and watch Creature Features with the lights out. Geeez. How did I survive?

    Lauren: I was sorely disappointed to find no refuge in sleep that first night. And being wired apparently makes you more scared. Yes, those loud silent noises are the worst. Except for “crackle crackle crackle.”

    Kathleen Kaufman: ACK! I’d forgotten about the 3AM Devil! I saw that movie too, and while it didn’t really bother me too much . . . YES! 3AM! Damn.

    Florida Girl in Sydney: I used to love staying up — and sleeping — late. Nowadays, as it gets later, I just think of sleep. Beautiful sleep. That’s all I want to do after 10:00.

  13. 13 Pricilla

    You could always bake. That’s what the publicist does when she can’t sleep. But that does tend to wake up the male person…
    .-= Pricilla´s last blog ..Aaaah- My Studmuffin =-.

  14. 14 babs - beetle

    Well, as I am ALWAYS awake until 4am, it’s not my witching hours. The only thing that scares me between the hours of midnight and four, is the thought that a spider may crawl towards me, or worse still ON me. This time of year I go to bed with my laptop!

    I would have to investigate the crackle though. Do it in the day time.
    .-= babs – beetle´s last blog ..Shopping for Cheese =-.

  15. 15 Anne

    When I wake in the middle of the night, it is every day anxiety, not fear of ax murderers and other scary stuff. I don’t think I have ever seen a homicidal Santa Claus (except for your photo above) but I think I would be happy to never see one again.

  16. 16 erin

    I enjoy sleeping too! And I get very cranky when I don’t get enough. I hope your regular sleeping habits return to you soon. Maybe try relaxation yoga instead!
    .-= erin´s last blog ..End Of Summer =-.

  17. 17 Margaret (Nanny Goats)

    Do you mean “they’re only cooking boys”, as in throwing boys into a large cauldron? Or do you mean, “they’re only cooking boys”, as in, Oh, you know, those are just the cooking boys, don’t mind them. Those boys just stand there at the barbeque and cook. And those muscular lean tan blobs of yummy are the pool boys. And those guys carrying the mops and brooms and vacuum cleaners are the cleaning boys. So these tall dark and handsome apron-bedecked hunks? They’re only cooking boys.
    .-= Margaret (Nanny Goats)´s last blog ..Goat Thing of the Day- A Goat Tattoo =-.

  18. 18 Surfie

    And isn’t it always when the DH is out of town and you are sleeping alone that the house starts making extra noises that creep you out? No lie, I actually went out and bought extra night-lights this June when Chris was out of town for a week. (International ROV competition – Go Socastee!)

    I think in the light of day the first task of the morning would have been to move that fan onto something other than wicker! Of course then it would still probably make slow, creaking noises as a phantom wind blew on the blades and made them start a slow half-spin.
    .-= Surfie´s last blog ..The Garbage Disposal of Death =-.

  19. 19 Kathleen Kaufman

    Know what’s funny? When I am still up at 3am, as happened back in my young and swingin’ exciting days or later on in my colicky baby days…3am was simply the time when Beverly Hills 90210 reruns would start on the Soap Network. I kind of looked forward to it.

    I guess 3am is only scary if I’m been asleep beforehand…

    That makes it sound even more irrational than the fact that I don’t even believe in the devil…..or crabwalking…or homicidal cats. For a cat to be homicidal they’d have to exert more energy than is conceivably possible for a creature that sleeps 23 hours a day….
    .-= Kathleen Kaufman´s last blog ..Five Legal Terms For Everyday Use =-.

  20. 20 JD

    Pricilla: Yeah . . . I don’t think my male person would be too thrilled to be awakened by clanging pots and pans at 2:25 AM. Unless I were making him a pie. Then maybe.

    babs – beetle: It NEVER crackles in the daytime, I swear. Only at night. Only between midnight and four. Will you sleep over? You can bring your laptop.

    Anne: I often worry about normal stuff, too. In a way, that’s much more annoying. Sometimes I wish a homicidal Santa Claus would show up, just to break the monotony.

    erin: Yeah, maybe I should do a session of “sleep” yoga before I go to bed to counteract the hot yoga. But I’m so tired!

    Margaret (Nanny Goats): Wow, you’re reading way more into this than I was. But you have a point. “They’re only cooking boys” sounds much more innocuous. But . . . that just wasn’t the tone of the sentence. The evil whisper-voice was definitely much more malignant. Still, I heartily approve of your spin.

    Surfie: DH out of town!!! Pray to GAWD that never happens! Especially now that I know about the phantom wind! I’d need more than night lights. I’d need an armed guard or at least all the lights and TV on all night. Plus my mom. Thank goodness Dave doesn’t go anywhere without me. EVER!

    Kathleen Kaufman: You make a good point. I do think there’s a difference between staying up until 3AM and waking up at 3AM. No one can get you if you’ve been up all night, doing stuff. The only time my cats freak me out at night is when they do that thing where they stare at a doorway or hallway, ears pointed back and eyes wide, like someone is there. Someone . . . with an ax.

  21. 21 meleah rebeccah

    Oh that’s the WORST feeling EVER! I hate being wide awake in the middle of the night filled with energy and fear! Every single scary movie I’ve ever seen pops in my head too. And even though I have NOT seen a scary movie in YEARS [because I refuse to watch them] I still manage to completely freak myself out!

    Here’s hoping you get a good night’s rest soon!

  22. 22 Linda

    I’ve been alive, awake and scared a few times in my life. Once when I was still living at home, and it was the middle of the night. Everyone, was asleep but me. I heard something, which in reality was nothing, probably just the house creaking. Anyway, I had myself convinced that there were people in the house – taking our stuff. I expected to walk out in the morning and find everything gone. What an imagination! Not funny while I lay there barely breathing.

    My greatest fear now is that someone will ring the doorbell in the middle of the night (which is never a good thing) – when I happen to be alone. I did dream that once, but realized it was a just a dream when I saw my (scaredy) cat was still on the bed.

    I hope you get back to yourself soon. Sleep is a precious thing.

  23. 23 Lin

    Well, while you are up, could you go through my blogroll for me and keep me abreast of what is going on? And while you are at it, could you write thoughtful, meaningful comments to everyone in my absence?

    Well….you said you have all that energy and time–just thought I’d give you something to do. ;) Thanks.
    .-= Lin´s last blog ..Drum Line – How I love thee =-.

  24. 24 kathryn

    Oh. Now I understand. So, this Bike Ramming exercise regime is supposed to beat your body to within an inch of your life, suck all
    the fluids from your organs, submit you to mental torture by refusing
    your Constitutional right to leave the freakin’ room (what are we…five? I still can’t get over this…but I’m sure ppl who leave NEVER come back inside) and if THAT doesn’t kill you, the sleep deprivation will.

    Nice, JD…..very nice.
    .-= kathryn´s last blog ..My Rules- My Way =-.

  25. 25 Caro

    Those early hours of the night are terrifying! Last night when the sun was going down the apartment was pretty dark and it was becoming night so it was zomgscaryashell and I jumped at every weird noise. This morning it was just dark outside when I got up and yet I took a shower, had breakfast and got dressed without ever turning on a light just because it was morning and dawn isn’t creepy at all. So weird!

  26. 26 JD

    meleah rebeccah: I’ve had two awesome nights of pure, unadulterated sleeeeeeeeeeeep. What a difference! I should probably stop watching all these scary movies, because they do bother me at some point, but I can’t help it. I LOVE THEM!

    Linda: Yes, sleep is precious. I think I’m over my insomnia. That’s (yet another!) nice thing about cats: You know if there’s someone in the house, they’re going to freak out. And . . . oh my god. The phone or doorbell ringing in the middle of the night. Guaranteed heart attack.

    Lin: Ummmmm. Yeah. I know I should be doing something productive with all that down time, but I’m afraid if I get up to do something I’ll NEVER get back to sleep. Maybe you need a little insomnia to get things done?

    kathryn: HAHAHAHAHA! No, you’re right. The ones who leave . . . never come back. Scary. Yeah, I think I’m really onto something here!

    Caro: Yes, exactly! You’re safe after 4 AM.

  27. 27 FFMag

    I used to be a major night owl, that is of course until I married a non-night owl. I am now usually tucked in tight before midnight. It seems the older I get the more sleep I need, but that does not stop me from nights of insomnia. All it takes is one small idea, one exciting project and I’m up all night, excited like a kid. Renos are the worst. If I’m in the middle of a reno, i’m up all night, excited. It’s ridiculous.

  28. 28 muskrat

    I need more energy. Coffee and bourbon only lasts til about 12am, so clearly I need some of what you’re selling up in here.

  29. 29 babs - beetle

    I’d love to sleep over, but I fear I would keep you awake (even longer) with my laughter ;)
    .-= babs – beetle´s last blog ..Drawing a blank &amp Sofa conversation =-.

  30. 30 JD

    FFMag: I was a night owl many, MANY years ago, but now I not only need way more sleep — I need it sooner. Like 9:00. What is a “reno”? Renovation? Sounds exciting!

    muskrat: Go on and git you some. I hope you’re comfortable wearing a Speedo to class.

    babs – beetle: That’s the best reason to stay awake!

  31. 31 Staci at Just Bloggled

    You should get a yappy Chihuahua that barks at noises two blocks away. That way, if you hear a noise and the dog doesn’t bark, you’re probably okay. Of course, the downside to that, which I’m scared I’ll learn the hard way one day, is that because the dog barks at everything, you eventually tune the dog out, or you don’t get too concerned when he barks. I’m just hoping his bark will be different if there’s ever a serial killer or vengeful ghost coming after me.

    That being said, I used to have a hangup about open closet doors at night. My freshman year in college, I asked my roommate to shut the closet door, and she gave me this look like I was nuts. So after that I pretended it didn’t bother me, but honestly I’d prefer not to sleep across from one. I guess I’ve seen one too many horror movies where bad things are in the closet. I don’t know.
    .-= Staci at Just Bloggled´s last blog ..More Proof of a Baby Mixup =-.

  32. 32 Kathleen Kaufman

    My cat alarm just went off and sent me reeling back in my chair, which knocked over a stack of books, and everything breakable thereupon, which in turn woke up the sleeping toddler. The cat, however, decided that it was a false alarm and there were no axe murderers after all.

    Damn cat alarm system.
    .-= Kathleen Kaufman´s last blog ..Bad Teachers Are Not A New Idea =-.

  33. 33 Shieldmaiden1196

    Just remembered a funny– My former sword Sensei, one of those ‘I’ve broken everything so you don’t have to and I could kill you with a pen’ blackelt in four things guys, told us a story about lying in bed about 3am and hearing one of his daughter’s toys, which apparently had a low battery, kick on downstairs. It was a Barney doll. It was down there in the dark whirring and saying “I Love you…” His wife poked him and said, “would you go down and take the batteries out of that thing?”
    He turned on every light on the way. He said he has never experienced such naked terror.
    .-= Shieldmaiden1196´s last blog ..Moderate Excess- Volume Two =-.

  34. 34 JD

    Staci at Just Bloggled: Yappy dog, check. Preferably a yappy dog with a distinctive “ghost and/or killer” bark. Double check. You want a scary closet situation? My bedroom closet is a walk-in that you can access from both the bedroom and from the hallway. So it would be ve-e-e-e-ry easy for the killer to tiptoe through the house and get in the bedroom from the closet. But my husband sleeps on the side closest to the closet, so I’m not too worried.

    Kathleen Kaufman: Cat alarms are not very reliable, particularly their silent alarms. But at least the silent ones don’t cause you to break everything in sight.

    Shieldmaiden1196: Oh, my god. I got the shivers reading this. Just imagining that voice . . . Of all the talking toys that could go off in the middle of the night, why that one? Brrrr.

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