I wake up a lot in the night here.
I rarely did in America. I’m a hard sleeper, and some may call that an understatement. It was only occasion I’d wake up to go to the bathroom, and usually I could stay asleep enough to crawl right back into bed. I was probably back into REM sleep before my head hit the pillow.
Here, on the other hand, I don’t get out of bed with the light off unless it’s necessary. Absolutely necessary.
And even, then, when I decide I really won’t fall back asleep and need to get up to go to the bathroom, I lay there a little longer. To make sure I’m really awake.
The trick is to be awake enough.
I have to put my feet down in my room, of course, but I take as few steps as possible in there. It stays very dark in the room, but once I’m in the hallway I can see a few things from the streetlights while I turn the light on as fast as I can, and wait for it to flicker a few moments. A few moments of fear that something might crawl across my toes.
There’s no telling what comes out in our house at night. I’ve seen the many little lizards, I’ve seen enough big spiders, and I’ve seen enough ant infestations during the day to want the light on before I go walking. And I’ve heard enough [horror] stories about the snakes, big geckos, mice, rats, and ginormous cockroaches, all of which I’ve seen outside of our house and it seems like only a matter of time until they find their way in…
Once the light flickers on, I have to take in my surroundings. There’s inevitably a lizard or two, which is fine, as long as 1) they are on the wall or ceiling, not the floor, and 2) moving away from me and not toward me in their skittish ways.
From there, I actually walk to the bathroom (which involves turning on the kitchen light, a few more moments of flickering light and a brief panic of what might be moving or munching in there). But, yet, you still have to check if you’re awake enough: the squatty potty takes some balancing.
And by the time I get back to the room and I’ve shut off the hall lights and jumped into bed, I’m wide awake for at least another hour.
[It’s a fine line between awake enough and wide awake.]