Of shaking beds and overactive imaginations

I probably shouldn’t tell this story on myself, but then there are a lot of things I probably shouldn’t do — most of them, alas, involving the ingestion of calories.

Anyway, my wife and I were asleep in a hotel in Jacksonville, Illinois. We had just arrived that evening in response to a crisis involving my mother (and, yes, this constitutes my latest excuse for missing several days of posting). I was fast asleep — in the middle of a dream, I believe — when I was awakened by the sensation of the bed rocking back and forth. It was really quite a violent shaking, although it subsided within a second of my taking note of it.

Now, my wife is an infamous leg shaker, so although I’d never experienced anything quite this dramatic before, I wrote the experience off to one of her unintentional nocturnal exercise sessions and — as those of us with 53 year old bladders are want to do when awaken after 4:00 A.M. — headed off to the bathroom.

When I returned, however, I was surprised to find myself accused, by my wife, of being the one who had shaken the bed. She guaranteed me it had not been her doing.

Well — and here’s the part I probably shouldn’t tell on myself — I started worrying about it. In my entire life, I can never recall an occasion when, at least while asleep, I have done anything to cause a bed to shake, let alone to cause it to shake like a son of a bitch.

By the time I got up the next morning, I had myself convinced that I’d suffered a seizure during the night. I wondered whether I could safely drive the family home (our two young sons had come alone on the trip). And I’ll admit to worrying at least a little about all of the awful things a seizure could mean in terms of my health.

Still, I dutifully got up and drove the family to Mom’s. Along the way, at my wife’s insistence, we stopped at a shop to buy flowers for the boys to give to their grandmother.

“Hey, did you feel the earthquake last night?” the clerk inquired.


“Yeah, we had a fairly strong quake last night.”

Suddenly, the full implication of her words hit me. “What time was it?”

“Oh, a little after four in the morning.”

And so it was, with considerable relief and a slight twinge of embarrassment, that I realized that my “seizure” had actually been last Friday’s Southern Illinois earthquake.

Like I said, I probably should have kept this to myself. But some bits of self-humiliation are just too good not to share.

2 Responses to “Of shaking beds and overactive imaginations”

  1. MikeH Says:

    I am 57, and I identify with you about having to go to the bathroom after waking up in the night. I find I am having to get up and go to the bathroom just about every two hours. Ugh!

    I live in San Diego, California, and I am reminded that it is a little bit scary to think of how long it has been since I remember feeling an earthquake. I hope we are not to soon be hit by a big one. I remember feeling a number of earthquakes and tremblers in the 80’s and the early 90’s.

    I seemed to vaguely remember there being a Jacksonville, Illinois, but couldn’t exactly place it until I looked for it on a map. I seemed to remember that it was close to Springfield, and found that was correct. Unlike Jacksonville, Florida, it is not a big town, so that is why I only vaguely remembered it. Incidentally I had relatives, including a grandmother, who lived in Decatur, Illinois, and whom I visited many times during my childhood and teenage years (until I moved to California with my family). Actually I think I have some relatives who still live there, whom I have not been in touch with for years.

  2. Larkrise Says:

    Dear Steve, I was convinced the house was going to fall down around my head. My husband grew up in Taiwan, where 5.0 tremors are common. He kept telling me it could be worse. It could be, but I dont want to experience it. One more reason why I will never be “California Dreamin’ ” Now, on top of Global Warming; giant asteroids hitting the earth; and the year 2012 coming up fast, with the sun, earth and a giant black hole in the Milky Way aligning, I have to worry about earthquakes in Indiana. Life get’s teejus, don’t it?!!!

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