Something I’ve discovered I hate is falling asleep at night only to be awoken two hours later by some outside nuisance. It’s happened twice this week. Tonight it was some of my neighbors loudly arriving home. My ears followed their trek down the hall – stomping in their heels and cackling all the way – before they arrived at their door, which they slammed. And that was it – there was no salvaging that REM cycle. I sat up, turned on my lamp, and got on Pinterest instead.

I used to be an expert at blocking out annoyances in order to get the maximum amount of shuteye. Short of a tornado siren (which somehow I can hear at any hour even in the deepest of sleeps), I’d turn my back on any disturbance and be sound asleep again in two minutes.

These days everything wakes me up and tends to wake me up for good. In addition to the unnatural way sound carries in this complex, I think it’s the living alone thing. Consciously, I love living alone. Surprisingly I don’t think twice about coming home to an empty apartment, walking my dog, or falling asleep. The area where I’m living is more urban than my home in Birmingham, but I feel comfortable. I never feel lonely. My apartment, although a little noisy, is big and nice. Still, I do live on the ground floor, there was a robbery a couple of weeks ago, and due to the new door and huge new security sticker I’m pretty sure it occurred two doors down from me. So it seems although each night I fall asleep without hesitation, subconsciously I’m ready for anything. This conclusion lead to the thought, “What would I do in the case of a disaster with no roomie to back me up?” I had nothing.

While I sat up glaring at the paper-thin walls that are the cause of my sleepless nights and listening to the whir of traffic on the highway that is my backyard, I had a revelation: If anything horrible or catastrophic were to occur, a little healthy screaming would likely carry through the length of the building’s hallway. And with that happy realization, I immediately felt better. And ready to go back to sleep.

It’s the little things.

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