>My mother is an octogenarian, though she would despise being called that. She is very active and lives independently. She and her older sister talk by phone almost every day. Whenever Aunt M can’t get Mom on the phone, she leaves a voice mail asking if she’s out gallivanting with a handsome gentleman. “Where do you hide him when people visit?” she asks, under the bed?” I’m not sure why she would think he was under the bed rather than under the bedcovers; if I suggested that to my mother, she would feign embarrassment for a second, and then laugh heartily.
So this morning, what panicking thought did she wake to? I know I locked the door. I should check if a man is under the bed. No, it can’t be a man. It must be an animal burrowing. I hope he stops before he claws through my bed.
My sister’s first thought was this: There’s an elephant shaking the house. I must get my niece and the dog outside.
A coworker woke from a deep sleep to scream at her cats for running and jumping on her bed. (Those must be huge cats. Maybe tiger cubs?) Another thought that a car had plowed through her garage at high speed.
My thoughts? Hmmm. That thunder is an earthquake. Go check.
Go check??? Go check what: the trees? the fish? the flowers? the roof?
I think it is interesting how the brain works when it is jolted awake by something unusual and unexpected. What odd thoughts we each processed trying to put the sensory input into some sort of sensible, meaningful pattern.
Of course, nothing like this was said by the people buying donuts who were interviewed by the local network affiliate an hour later: We was sleeping and was awokened up by it shakin’. How do they always manage to find the stereotypical, nearly illiterate, hayseed to interview? Not everybody in Indiana is like that – I swear they are not! — although apparently there were many people who felt the urge to sooth their rattled nerves and share their quake stories by buying high caloric baked goods at 6:15am. Now that is so Indiana.