“A cricket!” I whispered. “Shh, don't move!” Within seconds I heard it again. “Where are you, you son of a bitch?” I muttered opening the laundry room door opposite our bedroom. I waited. The sound got louder. “I know you're in here, and if you know what's good for you, you'll stay in here.” I warned.
“Why all the hostility towards an innocent cricket?” Bobby asked. He apparently had no recollection of the little bugger that had kept me awake all night a few weeks before. I remember looking in utter amazement and envy at Bobby while he slept through the cricket serenade that had almost driven me insane.
“Because,” I said rather defensively, “the last time a freaking cricket got in our room, I got no sleep. Zip, zero, nada! No sleep makes me grumpy. You don't like it when I'm grumpy.” I could tell by the way his eyes glazed over that he understood. I turned off the laundry room light and slammed the door hoping that distant cousin of Pinocchio's conscience would follow my advice and stay put.
At 3:29 the next morning, it was obvious that he hadn't. I thought I had heard some chirping in the bedroom earlier, but the windows were open and I had assumed it was coming from outside. Crickets sound different outside. Outside they do chirp, inside it sounds like they're screaming.
A chronic insomniac even without the help of a screaming cricket, I was up writing when I heard it again. The windows had long since been closed so I knew the little rebel had ignored my warning and had somehow found his way into our room.
It was that same nocturnal aria that had rudely awakened me weeks before, different soloist, same song. That night I had been too exhausted to move and decided instead to lie in bed and meditate. Meditate I did. Sleep? Not so much.
This time because I was already up, I scratched the meditation idea and decided to hunt him down, not to kill him though. I can't kill a cricket regardless of how nuts it makes me. My mamma taught me that crickets in the house were good luck. While I'm not convinced of the good luck part, just in case there could be some karmic repercussion, I catch and release.
Catching a cricket is no easy task because the clever little noise makers clam up when they hear you coming. I slowly got up from the computer, opened a drawer gently, got my headlamp and tiptoed towards the screaming.
I swear I heard Elmer Fudd's voice whispering “SHHHHHH, be vewy, vewy quiet, we are hunting wabbits.”
“Cwickets, Elmer” I corrected aloud. “We are hunting cwickets.”
The cwicket must've heard me talking to the cartoon character in my head because he shut up. I froze. When he finally started up again I was able to narrow down his probable hideout to the left corner of the room.
As I meticulously and quietly sifted through the stuff in the left corner, I chuckled thinking that this was what my sister-in-law Kimberly must've looked like the night I slept on her sofa and she heard crickets in her house. She despises them and will not rest until the little trespassers are apprehended and executed.
After tearing the room apart while I slept, Kimberly finally discovered that the chirping was coming from my iPhone laying on the end table, next to the sofa. More specifically, it was coming from the White Noise app on my iPhone. Sorry about that sis!
Hmmm...so, I listen to virtual crickets chirping on an app to lull me to sleep and the real one in the bedroom was keeping me awake? I sat down on the floor and laughed out loud, shaking my head in disbelief. I grabbed my iPhone, opened up the app, which I hadn't used for months, and sure enough, heard chirping crickets. Chirping, mind you, not screaming.
That's when I canceled the cricket hunt and crawled into bed, with the Jiminy Cricket wanna be still screaming in the corner. Because the chirping cricket chorus trumps the screaming solo serenade, I turned up the volume on my iPhone, put it on the nightstand next to my bed, closed my eyes and listened. I thought about how fascinating it was that crickets produced sounds that lulled me to sleep and ones that drove me crazy.
All creatures gifted with a voice are capable of creating soothing sounds or ones that’ll induce insanity, depending on what they need to communicate to the world. So, why does a group of horny crickets chirping out their version of “Hey baby, your place or mine?” make my eyelids so heavy?
Like a cradle rocking a baby, there's a relaxing, rhythmic consistency from the chorus of crickets. Their gentle, slow, continuous tempo sent me straight to the Land of Nod and the best night’s sleep I’d had in months. And it all began with that screaming cricket in the corner of the bedroom.
I smile when I think about that cricket's ancestor, Jiminy Cricket and the enchanted place he lived, where wooden puppets awaken to find they are real people and where the strings controlled by puppet masters have magically disappeared, courtesy of a blue fairy's wand.
In that transcendent world as in this one, being a real person means being inspired by our conscience, in ways we cannot even imagine, to do more than simply be conscious, but to live that consciousness. It's where stars twinkling in the heavens patiently await the silent sharing of our deepest desires and where dreams really do come true.