Before telling this story, I probably should confess that I have a habit of imagining the worst. I think therapists call it ‘catastrophic thinking’. I prefer to call it an ‘overactive imagination’ (hence the blog – it’s a great valve!).
Last night, I caught myself at it again – in the dead of night, when it’s all too easy to let thoughts of bad things, gremlins, or ‘could something happen to get us kicked out of here?’ ruminate through one’s mind.
I was lying awake at 3 in the morning. My head full of cold – my second cold since we turned the air-conditioning on just over a week ago (it’s that time of year when the AC feels a bit chilly, but if you don’t switch it on, you feel menopausal).
Suddenly, the peace was shattered. There was an almighty noise, coming from outside. The sound of something very big screeching to a halt – skidding along, careering out of control. An engine droning. Tyres bursting.
And then an eerie silence.
Due to the fact we hadn’t been obliterated, I ruled out an airplane landing on our heads (you might laugh, but we get some deafeningly loud Russian cargo planes with dubious air-worthiness flying pretty low over us).
I guessed instead there had been an accident on the highway and leapt out of bed, shaking DH until he woke up, frightening the life out of him.
“Quick! Go up onto the roof,” I whispered in the darkness. “Something’s happened on the road.”
While I peered out the window at the traffic grinding to a halt, DH climbed the stairs to the roof – reappearing a minute later to tell me he couldn’t open the door.
“Oh yes, that’s right. I hid the key,” I replied. BB had gone up there a couple of times by himself, to holler at our neighbours – a habit I nipped in the bud by taking the key away and putting it somewhere.
And that’s when my overactive, over-tired imagination sprang into action. Knowing it had to be a truck or tanker that had just crashed but not being able to see it, my brain lit up with, “But what’s inside? It could be anything!)” Petrol, flammable chemicals, poo …. a nuclear reactor!!! (see, I told you I’m good!) “Is a gas tanker about to explode, igniting our compound and torching our homes too?”
It didn’t, of course. After hurrying into another room, where I got a clear view of the accident, I saw that, yes, it was a crashed truck. It had careered into the central reservation and spilled its load – timber, not toxins. The driver was fine, and there were no other vehicles involved (he’d fallen asleep perhaps).
Within minutes, there were police cars on the scene and men scurrying around trying to clear the highway of debris so traffic could get by.
I stayed to watch for a few more minutes. “Can I go back to bed now?” DH said, not in the least bit phased, whereas I just about got to sleep before the dawn chorus! Yawn.