A bump in the night and why not to be afraid

A bump in the night and why not to be afraid - www.alliepottswrites.com
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Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

My eyes snapped open. The room was dark, except for the clock’s display which showed it was only a few minutes past three in the morning.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

My heart raced. However, my husband’s rhythmic breathing to my side was a clear indicator that the sound from the downstairs hadn’t yet penetrated through his dreams as it had mine. It wasn’t the first time I cursed the sensitivity of my ‘mom’ ears.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

I sat up as I tried to imagine what could be causing the sound. We’d had unseasonably warm weather recently, enjoying a weekend of open doors and windows. Could an animal have gotten inside? It wouldn’t be the first time. I still recall the time several years ago when a neighbor’s cat managed to sneak through a pet door only to become confused and disoriented inside. But, I reminded myself, the pet doors were now sealed.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

My imagination expanded in the darkness. While the sound was quiet enough to be caused by an animal, it seemed unnaturally controlled and repetitive to be caused by something wild, but still not out of the realm of possibilities. I turned to my sleeping husband. Someone was going to have to risk the unknown. Someone had to go investigate. Someone needed to wake up.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

It seemed my preferred someone had developed an immunity to my glares over our years of marriage. I debated shaking him awake. Reminding myself that I am a strong woman capable of fighting my own battles (or at least screaming loud enough to alert the neighbors), I decided against it. It wasn’t as if I was going back to sleep without knowing the cause of the sound. While telling myself the sound could be a mouse, our dog or maybe even one of our children, as I’d caught Kiddo sleepwalking once before, I left the bed and slowly opened the bedroom door.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

Swallowing my fear, I crept toward the staircase and peered over the banister.

Bump. Muffle. Jingle. Thump.

Movement caught my eye.

Bump. Muffle. Thump.

The sound was coming from . . . I squinted in the darkness . . .

Bump. Muffle. Thump.

. . . the robotic sweeper vacuum I’d received for Christmas, a device we’d programmed to clean while we slept. An array of blue LEDs appeared in the darkness as the white disk-shaped robot attempted to maneuver its way out from under our dining room table. Bump. Hitting one of the chair legs, it rotated a fraction of an inch and tried again.

Bump. Whirl.

The robot turned once more, disappearing once again under the table only to return a moment later for another attempt at escape.

Adrenaline fled my system, as my body reminded me exactly how early it was. Now that I understood where the sound was coming from, there was no more reason to fear. Instead, it became no more than white noise and something I could ignore. I returned to bed as the robot continued its chore.

It seems that we are being bombarded by new things to fear. Things to lose sleep over. I am reminded often of the words of Franklin Roosevelt who said during his first inaugural address, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

But there is even more to the speech than this one memorable quote. He went on to call this fear of fear a “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

He called upon the American people to recognize that it was fear, above all, that was the nation’s enemy and introduced the policy of the good neighbor – “the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others.”

History has a way of repeating itself and I find the words of this particular speech as true now as they were during the time they were first spoken. It is only the size of the stage that has changed.

We are in danger of losing our ability to respect the views of others – those that live differently, speak differently, pray differently or in cases, vote differently and in doing so jeopardize respect for ourselves. We are in danger of losing the battle with fear. And so I implore you, no matter where you call home, or side of an issue’s spectrum you take, to never lay awake in fear at the sound of a bump in the night. Instead, get out of your comfort zone. Investigate its source so that you might better understand it from all angles.

That bump in the night may prove to be something terrible, to be fought, but it might just as easily be something or someone trying to help you as best they can. You’ll only know for sure how best to react if you first break the paralysis of fear, step forward and risk a look.

44 thoughts on “A bump in the night and why not to be afraid

  1. On a light note, first of all “an immunity to my glares over our years of marriage” is a frightful thought. If a glare doesn’t work, then what?!

    On a different note, you’re so right. No one wins if we all run around “fearing” everything and everyone. I’d forgotten about FDR’s speech but it is as applicable today as when he said it. Throughout history TPTB, if unscrupulous, have tried to frighten the masses so that the people turn on each other, thereby making it easier for TPTB to take over the system completely.

    And that is not how a democracy works. Good reminder here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My hubby may be able to ignore my glare at his back in the wee hours of the morning, but thankfully a kick to the leg still gets the message across.

      I read it in full before posting this and was amazed by how many similarities there were between what was going on then and more recent events.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderfully put, Allie. These are ‘interesting times’, as the Chinese curse goes, and remembering that we can choose how to react, rather than just giving in to fear, is part of moving forward.

    On a lighter note – haha! Your robot vacuum? That would freak me out too!!


    1. I’ve thought of that curse so many times.

      It’s more of a robotic broom and dustpan if you ask me as I still have to take out the real-deal vacuum at least once a week for the high traffic areas but the bot does help keep her royal highness’s shedding in check.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely thoughtful and ultimately cheering post Allie. Two thoughts come to mind though. One is how on earth you managed to sleep even if you knew it was a bot going about its business. I’d still be listening out for it like a dripping tap. Second my wife once told a friend that when the children were small and mewling dreadfully she had mastered the art of feigning sleep; unfortunately I had mastered feigning death so she still had to get up – harsh but probably fair…


    1. At three in the morning it doesn’t take much convincing to send me back to bed. Once it was freed from the table the thumping stopped.

      Yes, I unfortunately have admitted here that I am an absolute failure to my gender.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a great story until the day when my little helper bot turns against me. Thankfully it isn’t connected to the web, taking orders from SkyNet, . . . that I know of.


  4. You hooked me from the start of the scary noises. Like you, I kept wondering – what could it be? Unlike you, I was still scared once we found out it was a vacuum cleaner (after all, I felt like I was with you during the night-time search). With my vivid imagination, I wondered if some alien creature had taken over the robotic machine and had evil designs over you and your husband. Yes, I’ve read a lot of sci fi, and my mind always goes there, particularly in the dark of night.
    But I do agree with you. We need to calm down, check out what’s scaring us, make sure it’s not a machine or an alien invasion, and then ACT instead of REACTING.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I suppose the aliens are playing a long game and only letting me think the danger isn’t there.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story and yes, it is always good to make sure the robot apocalypse is not upon us.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I wouldn’t be much of a science fiction enthusiast if I didn’t think that a robotic takeover wasn’t a real possibility. Just look at some of the work being tested over at Boston Dynamics – and that’s just what they are showing the public! But the important things is that we not give the robots reason to enact the ultimate solution by acting as humans should rather than a cancer.


    1. Yeah, the first night we used it I woke thinking it was storming. Amazingly enough it also managed to wake the hubby too that night so I know now that he isn’t quite as dead to the world at night as he lets on.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. PAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH This was brilliant. I know I am super late in responding, but I basically died last week. Having fought off the ol’ scythe I am back to read! I raced through I was DESPERATE to know what it was, for a while I thought it would be her royal highness, but this was SO MUCH better. Proper laughed out loud 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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