The wind is coming from inside the house

Anna Slayton, staff writer

Relay for Life, a night full of sleep deprivation and binge-eating, leaves every participant distraught and exhausted the following day.

This exhaustion sent me into a panic when I was woken up at one in the afternoon by a door mysteriously opening down the hallway from me. Whenever I find myself home alone—day or night—I panic due to the smallest things: my sump pump turning on, the dishwasher finishing its load, or (in most cases) my own reflection in the window.

My paranoia about being attacked has caused me to do many irrational things. I have definitely planed an escape route out of my house in case a murderer breaks in, and yes, I do complain on a daily basis about my street’s name (Xene Lane) due to the confusion it could ensue when telling the 911 operator that it’s spelled with an X and not a Z.

I’ve done a lot of crazy things, but my paranoia, paired with the exhaustion of an all-nighter (Relay for Life), took me to the edge of extreme cautionary measures. After hearing a door open a few rooms down from mine and convincing myself that a murderer was in the house, I began furiously running through my plan of survival. I realized then that my escape route was flawed. I obviously hadn’t thought through all the potential situations.

I sat there in my bed, frantically deciding what to do in this fatal situation. I concluded that texting my best friend, who lives across the street, was my solution. Although, if the person was indeed a murderer, we’d both be toast. But I thought she’d pose as a good distraction as I set my dog Bucky loose on the enemy.

My solution quickly failed when I found out that my friend wasn’t even home, so she couldn’t come save me. She wouldn’t stop calling (in response to my 911 text message), but obviously I couldn’t talk on the phone in case the murderer was lurking in the hallway, searching for a victim!

After more mysterious noises came from upstairs, I was so discombobulated that I decided to call my parents, subjecting myself to complete judgment. My parents know how paranoid I am due to the weekly calls they get when they don’t arrive home before me and I’m stuck alone at home, replaying scenes in my head of the few scary movies I’ve seen. Somehow, they still don’t understand.

My frightful afternoon hit rock bottom when my parents reluctantly called almost every neighbor of mine, and finally two of them (married, over the age of 40) came over, hammers in hand. Luckily, after a thorough search of all three floors, no murderer was found, leaving me to hesitantly agree that the subject of my fear was actually just the wind.

After this half hour of being completely beside myself with fear, I was finally able to fall back to sleep. Although, this time I made sure to have weapons with me: my keys (so I could hit my panic button whenever needed), some scissors, and a canoe paddle (because that’s the only large hitting weapon I had upstairs).