I can’t remember the last time I shared a room with my brother, not to mention sharing a bed. It has been quite a while. Even as children growing up, we needed to share a bed room, but not the bed. There wasn’t any problem then. But that was well before my brother started snoring in his sleep. Snoring or disambiguation, as we understand, is the sound caused by vibration from the obstructive air movement while one breaths in his sleep. Snoring is usually quite benign, but irritating nonetheless to the one trying to sleep beside.
Recently we travelled to visit our aunt in Scottsdale, Arisona. My aunt is one of those fortunate snowbirds who escape from the harsh Canadian winter and trade it for the Arisonian desert. She warmly welcomed us into her home, which has two guest suites. One of the suites was already occupied. My brother and I were invited to share the remaining one and also, the only queen size bed within.
Bedtime came and problem started. My brother has always told me that he has difficulty falling asleep. That however did not seem to be the case, at least not that night. Before I could comfortably tuck myself in bed, I heard this thundering snoring sound coming from the other side. It took literally less than a minute from his lying down to the commencement of his snores. I do wish my brother had a problem falling asleep, at least just for that one night in his life or mine. I was told that people who live along noisy streets get used to the noises and fall asleep with little problem. When the noise is consistent, one gets habituated to it. I thought this might happen here too. Yet, the snoring sound surged up and down like a rolling hill in unpredictable rhythms. I’m not sure whether this is typical amongst the snorers anonymous, or each has his unique pattern, something resembling his own fingerprint. I do not have the ‘privilege’ of hearing my own snores, even though others have told me that I do. I surely have not slept around with enough snorers to collect objective data to report on
I discovered that whenever I moved even just a little in bed, my brother stopped snoring. Even though the cessation was temporary, it gave some respite and one hoped for a prolonged reprieve. Yet, it seems rather devilish of me to purposely interrupt his sleep just so that I can. The truth of the matter is that it would turn out to be a futile maneuver on my part anyway. The vigilance required of me to move around whenever his snoring resumed would only keep me further awake.
Soon after I abandoned my ‘agitating approach’, another idea popped into my head. Desperation can sometimes foster creativity. Only this time, my approach is more sophisticated, or should I say, more ‘insightful’. I realized that the only time a person is totally still and quiet … is when he is totally dead. I remember seeing a dead body once, shortly after the soul has left the person, so to speak. Even then, her body continued to release some noise, until she had been dead for some time. I guess we are called noisy body not without a reason.
It thus dawned on me that my brother, like anyone else, would one day stop snoring, be totally still, quiet and rather non-disturbing … but only when he expires. No,… I have no desire for my brother to die … even though he can be very annoying at times. And he can be. Far from it, I wish him a long, happy …and more relaxed life. As such, the sound of his snoring now signifies to me that he is alive, even though not necessarily kicking. I rather tolerate his thundering snores, than never to hear any noise from him, annoying as it may be, because it means that my only brother in this world is still sticking around. My positive spin to his snoring enlightened me. Disambiguation, like any unavoidable irritants in meaningful relationships, is more tolerable, when one considers what the other alternative may be. My brother’s grunt does not seem as disturbing, annoying, and negative as it once was. Instead, it reminds me of the value of life and living.
An amazing thing then happened. Once that realization came to me, his snoring stopped instantaneously. There was no gradual toning down. It just stopped. It was as if once the light bulb in my head got turned on, the electric blower of his snoring got switched off… A second amazing, and yet not so amazing thing happened. I found myself still not able to fall asleep. I was, I guess, secretly wishing that the snoring would come back. Yes, of course I knew he is still alive, but I wanted to test if my new found insight would ease me into my sleep… despite the noise. I patiently waited… and waited. Now I could not sleep because no one snored! My mind then got busy, thinking about how to jolt my insight down on a piece of paper when I awake the next morning…. that is if I managed to first fall asleep. I realize I cannot justifiably blame my sleepless night totally on his snoring alone.
Sometime during that long Arisonian night … I don’t know when and I don’t know how, I slipped into my sleep. I vaguely recall hearing a few grunts here and there, but I don’t remember them bothering me that much …. they seemed more like lullaby to my ears… Zzz…zzz