Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A True Story

As Mrs Wife will happily tell almost anyone, I frequently talk and wander about in my sleep.

Usually, or so I am told, these midnight disturbances are no more than a few muttered words before I turn over and fall back into a snore-filled slumber.

But occasionally, and usually when I am especially tired, I have been known to set off on mini expeditions, to engage Mrs Wife in lurid conversations or to imagine that I am in an unusual place or that there are unusual things in the bedroom.

For example, I once sat bolt upright in bed and informed Mrs Wife (then known as Miss Girlfriend) that there was a mouse in the room. Having delivered this unwelcome piece of news in a darkened room at 1am, I promptly lay back down and fell back into a deep sleep. From the report Mrs Wife gave me the next morning, it seems she was unable to do likewise for quite some time.

This animal fascination has reared its head again recently, as I now frequently wake in the middle of the night under the impression that Mrs Wife's rabbits, Dylan and Pepper, are scampering about in our bedroom.

At least this nocturnal intermission is based somewhat on facts - Dylan escaped from his cage a couple of weeks ago and feasted merrily on the tangle of wires and cables that lives behind our television. He was not a popular critter the morning that his handiwork was discovered.

But my finest hour in the exciting world of sleepwalking occurred while I was at university in 2002.

Myself and four others shared a five-bedroom flat on Edinburgh's Morningside Road, in a block in which the same person owned the two flats directly across the landing from each other. When we had been in our new home for several months, the owner announced that he would be refurbishing both, and that we would have to move across the hall for a few weeks while work took place in our flat.

For a week or so at the end of the renovations, we retained keys for both properties while we moved back into our own residence. And it is at this point that our story takes place.

After a night out in Edinburgh, I returned to the original flat and headed to bed.

Several hours later, I stirred, and found that I was feeling unusually cold. Opening my eyes, I discovered that I was in the bedroom in the other flat that I had lived in briefly during the renovations. I was lying on top of the brand new mattress on the brand new bed in that room, wrapped only in a plastic protective cover from the mattress and wearing only a pair of boxer shorts.

With my confusion rapidly accelerating, I investigated further. I found that I was, not surprisingly, in the flat on my own, but that more surprisingly, all of the lights were on.

And so, having switched all the lights off, I shut the door behind me and padded across the cold hallway to our own flat. Where I found that the door was locked.

Unfortunately, I had also shut the door behind me as I left flat number two, locking me out of both properties.

I was cold. I was tired. I was confused. I was drunk.

And so, I took the only action left open to me and started banging furiously on the door to the flat, knowing that my four flatmates were inside.

Thankfully, I managed to wake one of my sleeping flatmates before any of the neighbours could call the police.

Bleary-eyed and, like me, wearing only boxers, my friend opened the door and stared in wonder at this vision before him.

"Mate, what are you doing?" he asked.

"I have no idea," was all I could say in response, "I'm going to bed."

And I did.

The next morning, I awoke with a pounding headache. Turning over, I could hear the sound of conversation coming from the sitting room.


"Aye, standing on the doorstep waering just a pair of boxers!"

Not wishing to disappoint my audience, I ventured into the sitting room, where I was greeted with applause, laughter and a barrage of questions.

None of which I have ever been able to answer.

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