I am a strong, independent woman. I shake hands with a firm grip. I’m not afraid of spiders. I can change the oil in my own car.
(OK, I’m not saying I do change the oil in my own car, but I could if I wanted to).
I also have a paralyzing, pants-peeing fear of scary nighttime noises.
I’m not talking about crickets chirping or the cat hurking on the floor (though the latter can strike fear in my soul).
I’m talking about the creak of a floor, a thump on the roof, or the rev of a chainsaw outside my window.
Pythagoras is a charming and companionable mate, but he could have six eyes and intense halitosis and I would still keep him around because when faced with a scary nighttime noise, he does not pull the covers over his head and cry.
That would be me.
Pythagoras, on the other hand, is a man. And also sane.
When our doorbell rang at 2 a.m. last fall, I woke with my heart pounding. “Someone’s breaking into our house!” I hissed.
Pythagoras flipped on the bedside light. “And they’re ringing the doorbell first?”
“Don’t turn that light on! They’ll know we’re here and will kill us!”
He rolled his eyes at me and started dressing. “We don’t lock our front door. Now you’re concerned about security?”
I didn’t answer him, mostly because I had my pillow over my head and was humming Ozzy Osbourne’s “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll.”
Pythagoras, meanwhile, thumped downstairs to look around. “Take a weapon!” I yelled.
I heard the muffled whir of something electronic.
“What’s that?” I whimpered.
“The drill I left on the stairs,” Pythagoras called. “You told me to take a weapon.”
I lay there for a moment, trying to decide how I felt about my husband maiming an intruder with a drill. I decided it would be OK as long as he was careful not to get blood on the fern by the front door.
Once Pythagoras completed his circuit around the house, he returned to the bedroom and set the drill aside. “Probably kids screwing around,” he muttered as he undressed to crawl back into bed.
I sat up and blinked at him. “Aren’t you going to call the police?”
“Nope,” he replied, snuggling under the covers. “Goodnight.”
And that was pretty much it. Well, for him, anyway. I lay there all night keeping a close eye on the drill. I had no idea how to operate it, but figured I could use it to beat someone over the head if the situation called for it.
I had actually forgotten the whole incident until three days ago when Pythagoras called while I was visiting my parents to do research for my current book. “Someone rang the doorbell again last night,” he said.
“What did you do?” I whispered, trying to picture the scene if I’d been the one home alone.
It wasn’t a nice picture, and involved changing the sheets and maybe throwing away the mattress.
“I went outside and looked around,” he said. “Then I got a flashlight, sat on the porch, and waited.”
“You were going to beat someone to death with the flashlight?”
“No,” he said with exaggerated patience. “I waited for the kids to come back up the street before I flipped on the light and scared the crap out of them.”
OK, so I’m not proud. I know I’m a weenie and my husband is a bigger man than I am.
But I did learn to operate that drill. That counts for something, right?