My sleep has been really uneven lately, but last night I did a pretty good job. I had played tennis before bedtime, which usually makes me wake up with wet sweat-soaked sheets in the middle of the night. But last night I took precautions, like minimizing the covers, and slept soundly, with lots of wild, vivid dreams. (I won't recount them here, because I hate hearing about other people's dreams and won't subject my readers to mine.)
At 4:30 in the morning I was literally jolted awake. The entire apartment was shaking. I heard something fall to the floor in another room. What the hell is going on? I asked the cats. They ran off the bed without answering.
My first thought was, earthquake! But then I thought, that's ridiculous. This is East Central Illinois, not California. But the New Madrid fault does lie in the Midwest, and scientists have been predicting for years that it could cause a major quake in the area. Could this be the one? I turned on the lights and walked through the apartment. If it was a major earthquake, would I still have power? Nah, I didn't think so.
A train was passing by. Trains pass by my apartment several times a day. That wouldn't cause the building to shake, would it? Maybe if a train derailed? I know the wind is really bad. Could the wind have caused the shaking? What about an explosion? Could something have blown up? Did Chicago just get nuked and I'm feeling the repercussions in Savoy? Is this the end of the world as we know it (with all due respect to REM)?
I walked through the entire apartment twice trying to find whatever it was that I heard fall to the floor. It definitely wasn't something that fell onto carpet, but nothing seemed out of place, or lying on the floor, in the kitchen or bathroom. One knick-knack on the credenza in the kitchen was standing partially off the edge, but it hadn't fallen. Finally I noticed that my bobble-head Buddy Christ was missing from on top of my computer:
Buddy Christ was laying on the floor behind my computer desk. I picked him up and put him back, then went back to bed, wondering if this was a sign. What if the wacko fundamentalist Christians are right, and this is the rapture? I'm reading a book about that. What if every "believer" had suddenly been whisked away to heaven and only us "sinners" remained? This thought actually excited me a little: a world without wacko fundy Christians ruining our government!
I didn't sleep well after that. When the radio alarm clock went off at 6:00, there was a news report that a 5.2-magnitude earthquake had hit the Midwest, with its epicenter in Southern Illinois. There were no deaths or major damage reported, though.
Me and Buddy Christ survived it unharmed.