“I have this thing where I get older but just never wiser then nights become my afternoons.”
– ‘Anti-Hero’ by Taylor Swift
One thing about having little humans in the house is that my Spotify account is increasingly hi-jacked via various devices and then consequently, my ‘On Repeat’ song list is increasingly filled with artists other than my favourites. This has become increasingly prevalent of late following a certain American songstress’s album release.
The week before last (I think), Taylor Swift released ‘Midnights’ and since then my ‘On Repeat’ is pretty much complete with her songs.
“If you can’t beat them, join them,” I told myself one day on the way to work with my headphones in. My thinking was: If I was going to have to listen to Taylor’s finest when they appeared on playlists, I might as well familiarise myself with what’s good and what’s not.
It was thus that I found myself a-bed and sleepless on Wednesday night of last week with Taylor’s ‘Anti-Hero’ rolling around in my caffeine addled mind. If you’ll remember, that Wednesday night was a bit on the blustery side too and so with the wind whistling around the eves combining with Taylor’s sultry tones, sleep felt as though it would always remain a silhouette on the horizon of wakefulness.
I last checked my watch, I remember, at 12.45am and with the thought of impending work the following morning, the realisation of time heralded a burst of frustration.
Still, Taylor sang and the wind blew and I tried not to concentrate on trying to fall asleep. Eventually, that elusive inner quiet arrived and suddenly, just when it felt as though I was in a free-fall towards planet slumber another sound entered the mix.
“Ah, f…” my subconscious muttered, knowing exactly what and who had arrived into the three-way disharmony.
Taylor sang and the wind blew and Waffle whined the high whine of the congenitally lonesome.
I could do little about Taylor’s ear-worm and even less about the wind and so I reluctantly rose to deal with the newly yodelling hound.
“Maybe he needs out for a pee,” Herself noted.
“Or maybe he’s just a whinging baxter,” I thought but didn’t say.
Using the light on my watch to navigate my way around the room without disembowelling myself on suddenly lethal furniture, I tiptoe-ed down the hall hoping beyond hope that the sound of the hound wouldn’t wake any of the Taylor Swift fans.
Opening the door into the back hall where Waffle sleeps, I resisted a burgeoning urge to tell him to, “shut your fuppen mouth before I slap it off you!” Instead, I opened the door and said in the most civil tone that I could muster, “Do you need to go for a pee, wee Waffie?” As further encouragement, I opened the back door and peered out into the windy gloom. The night was grey and heavy with rain and I could see the bushes along the side of the garden being ferociously whipped and ripped back and forward by gusts of angry wind.
I turned to see if Waffle was interested in a widdle only to be met with a blank stare and a wag of his tail which battered against his bed. In fairness, I wouldn’t have wanted to head out there in my smalls for a pee either.
“Is it the storm that’s bothering you?” I wondered.
Rolling my sleepy eyes, I closed the back door again and then closed Waffle in, following a stern, “Shut it then, hound.”
Back into bed and Taylor sang and the wind blew and I once again tried to sleep without trying too hard.
My eyes popped wide open as if I’d been plugged in. “F this,” I thought. “I’m not getting up again.”
Just as I was about to swing myself out of bed and reach for the cattle prod which isn’t hanging above my bed, the door swung in and the littlest of the little humans ran in, distraught after having had a bad dream.
Soon, the soothing was soothed and sooner still everyone was back a-bed and thankfully, the wind seemed to have abated. Even Waffle had managed to get a lid on his Waffling. Or so I thought.
Once again, just on the cusp of slumber…
“Right!” I forced myself to remain where I was so that I wouldn’t rush down the hall like Freddy Kruger intent on canine-a-cide.
Just as I was about to swing myself out of bed and reach for the samurai sword which isn’t hanging above my bed, the door swung in and the same littlest of the little humans ran in distraught again after having had another bad dream.
Soon, the soothing was soothed and sooner still everyone was back a-bed again. This time, thankfully, the air felt acutely devoid of anxiety. Taylor had quieted, the wind had softened and even Waffle had finally succumbed to the beckoning silence.
Staring into the darkness, I couldn’t help but rewind recent events in my mind. I couldn’t help but wonder if Waffle had somehow sensed Anna’s nightmares and had been working as an early warning system. Each of the hound’s yowls arrived just before Anna burst into the room and when the nightmares ended, so did the yowling. Too much of a coincidence? Or could Waffle have sensed Anna writhing through her horrible bad dreams (about a dark man, apparently) or perhaps even scented her bursts of adrenaline and was trying to sound the alarm?
The internet abounds with theories about how dogs have the mysterious ability to sense things that exist beyond the boundaries of human ken (I ran a quick Google search on Thursday morning during my third cup of tea).
For all his idiosyncrasies, maybe even our Waff retains mystical qualities handed down from his wolfish forebears.
Maybe the next time he hollers in the dead of night, instead of checking as to his toilet requirements, I should go straight for the slumbering little humans.
Or maybe I should cut down on the caffeine before bed and just remember: Waffle is a whinging baxter.
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