Call Me Ishmael

For there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men.   -Herman Melville

Hurricane Florence is upon us! Abandon all hope, ye who enter North Carolina! Especially if you were planning to drive I-95. You’ll find the entire state is pretty much closed, please come back later! The storm has been on a slow crawl through our state since the early morning hours of Thursday. Severe flooding has rocked the state, and many hundreds of thousands are still without power today. Flood waters are only expected to rise more over the next couple of days, so we’re not out of the woods just yet, though my area has remained relatively unharmed.

Despite the intensity of the storm, along with it came a silly little dream of me facing down my own veritable white whale…

As I settled into bed on Thursday night, late as usual, the wind had just began picking up speed outside. In truth, the sound of it was more fearsome than the bite, a howling in shrieking tones that made me consider my own safety, if not for looking out the window to see the trees barely swaying at all. Soon, the rushing sounds of the gusts outside were lulling me to sleep. Yet, inevitably, just as I would begin to sink into my normal pre-dream state, I would hear it. A clang. A bang. Some metallic, sharp pinging noise. Whatever it was, it only picked the most inopportune times to reveal itself.

I fell into a miserable pattern. Deep breaths, almost asleep, clang. Sigh, toss, turn, fall asleep, clang. Grab the blankets, flop over to the other side, breathe slowly, sleep, clang.

This could not go on.

I flailed out of the blankets wildly and stomped through the apartment, checking windows, waiting to hear the noise so I could zero in on the source. I was up for at least 20 minutes to no avail. Well, I thought, maybe that’s all said and done with.

I was a fool.

No sooner than my head hit the pillow, my tired eyes closed, that I heard it again.

I threw the blankets off of myself with such ire that I scared the dog. Shrugging into a tank top and shorts, I set out into the storm to find whatever cursed object was disrupting my night.

Out in the wind, I knew at least that it was on a certain side of the apartment complex. I walked around the building, looking a fright in my own right, hair tousled wildly, skin and clothes slick with the mist of rain that fell at all angles. Okay, you bastard, where are you?

I can’t say how long I stood out there, but I was not giving up. The minute eked by, and I was soaked to the bone, but I waited. And waited. And waited. I was beginning to question my sanity when finally, I heard it.


My head turned in the direction of the sound, whipping quickly like some predatory bird. To say I was a little bit mad at this point may be an understatement. I laughed maniacally and prowled toward it, as if the noise were some easily startled creature. Again, the noise rang out in the darkness and I rejoiced, because I was about to find it, stop it, and get back in my bed.

Hubris, that sin which leads to the fall of many a great man, was on high in my psyche at this point, the noise pinging clearly once more. It was picking up now in frequency, and as I charged toward the source I stopped. Yes, I could hear it clearly. But no matter where I looked, nothing was moving. The fencing, the gates, the louvers on the building? Nothing moved in time with the noise, though it was so, so close. I stalked around, looking at my neighbors’ balconies for any offending furniture. Nothing.

Heartbroken, exhausted, and soggy, I returned to my apartment, sullen. The dog was excited to see me at least. I toweled off, slipped out of my soaked clothes, and collapsed wearily into the solace of my bed. This time, sleep came quickly, despite the ever-present clanging. I was beginning to think it was all in my head.

I may have consciously let go of the noise situation, however, my subconscious was clearly not done. My dreams for the rest of the night were one long continuation of the same scenario: me, running around the apartment building with a baseball bat, looking for the noise. I would wake fitfully when the banging reached a crescendo with the wind, then fall right back to where I was in the dream, pick up the bat, and keep going. Friends showed up in the dream, asking if I was okay. I would just laugh in their face, wave the bat around in the air, and then take off again.

I had just found the damn thing in my dream when my alarm tore me from my prize. I whimpered and pulled a pillow over my face. Not only had I not slept well, I felt robbed of that closure. At least Ahab found his white whale again, though it was the death of him.

I packed quickly and set off to pick up the kiddo from his father. We weathered the storm at my grandmother’s house for the weekend. Not only was I thankful for the hot meals, generator, and good company, but there was a distinct lack of any pinging, clanging, ringing, or banging to be heard.

This weekend brought a few more interesting dreams and secrets, which I will write soon. Until then, best wishes and sweet dreams!





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