Couldn’t sleep in this morning. I was trying, but when I crawled back into bed after a quick trip to the bathroom during the wee small hours, I heard a ticking or scratching sound, very faint but very persistent, in the bedroom. There was probably a mouse behind the book case or poking around in the closet, or maybe the house was settling. It was a pretty cold night.
But the noise was so annoying that, after ten minutes of listening to it, I sat up in bed to see if I could figure out which direction it was coming from. My attentiveness must’ve unnerved My Darling B. I thought she was asleep, but after I sat there for a minute she asked, “What?” in her wide-awake voice.
She paused, trying to decipher what I’d said, decided she couldn’t, and asked: “Bat?”
“T, H, A, T: That. That ticking noise.” I laid back down and tried not to think about it. “Probably just the cat.”
“Great,” she said. “Now I hear it.”
I gave up sleeping, got out of bed and went to the kitchen to brew a big pot o’ joe. Felt pretty bad about leaving her there to try to sleep through the ticking, but I didn’t know what I could do about it, other than lay there, wide awake, listening to it myself and getting more annoyed by the minute.
As I sat in my basement lair, doinking around with the internet, I heard her get out of bed and cross the living room. Obviously, she hadn’t been able to deal with the ticking noise any better than I had. I went upstairs to apologize.
She was waiting beside the kitchen table with one of my many clocks in her hand. “There’s your ticking noise,” she said, then headed off back to kick the cat out of the warm spot on her side of the bed.
There must be a word for the thought that gets stuck in your head and becomes so persistently annoying that it won’t let you sleep. Until I find out what it is, I’m going to call it batfatthat.