|Something like this was falling|
through my dreams.
First of all, it was loud. Real loud. It sounded to me, on the edge of sleep, like a million billion empty plastic water jugs - like the clear kind that is made out of a little more rigid plastic with the white spout with red button - falling all over the place in the middle of an empty warehouse. I woke right up. One giant bead of terror sweat plopped down next to my pillow. So I shook out the cobwebs and looked out of the bedroom.
I installed a shower curtain rod in my hallway at one point, on which I hang my shirts for them to dry. I fully expected to see this lying in a heap on the hallway floor, freshly hung with wet shirts as it was. I figured the sound of plastic crashing was all in my head. But it was still hanging. And everything was okay in the kitchen. I almost didn't bother, but at the last minute I stuck my head into the bathroom.
I laughed for a moment, and then I swore. Easy enough to fix, but I faced the prospect of cleaning up and throwing away a couple of hundred of prime Q-tips, which are like gold in my house. I keep them housed in a hard plastic container with a lid, hence the noises. So I sat down on the edge of the bathtub and started picking up the victims: the Q-tips, mouthwash, lotion, and two - count 'em two - bandages. Replace the lid on the container. Pick up the shelf. Investigate the nail, which had just pulled its way down through the drywall until it lost all holding power, no big deal.
But it was a big deal. I hear Ruth, my neighbor, calling my name. She is asking if I am okay. At first I thought the was calling through the wall from her bathroom, but then I realized the was outside. So out of the bathroom I do, turning on lights, finding a shirt. Poor Ruth, sweet woman that she is, is standing outside in the freezing cold making sure that I am not dead. She heard the loud falling, then heard me talking to myself (either in my stupor, trying to figure out what was going on, or I was cussing about the Q-tips) and thought that maybe I was trying to get help. And I probable need help. But any visions that she had of me lying on the floor with blood seeping from a gaping head wound. I was glad that she was up and wasn't woken up, and I thanked her repeatedly for checking on me. Then I finished cleaning up and went to bed.
Such an unimportant and miniscule event: a shelf falling off the wall. A shelf that held bathroom products no less, caused to so much commotion. Woke someone out of a dead sleep. Brought another person out into the cold night. Sent fright through multiple people for no good reason. All for the work of gravity and physics and me not anchoring that nail into a stud. That is why I said at the beginning that it was such an insignificant event - the shelf will be up by tomorrow - cause all that commotion. "Full of sound an fury, but signifying nothing." That is a quote out of Shakespeare (don't ask me where) and I think he was applying it to humans in general, but it's a great line and I am pinning it to this event. Full of sound and fury for sure, but in the end, signifying very little at all.