‘Those sticky strips you can glue across the bridge of your nose don't seem to have any effect on her at all’
WE have a problem with snoring in our household.
I'll mention no names, but there are two people in our marriage, and the one who snores isn't me.
Well, OK, perhaps I do snore a bit, but I could barely represent our street in a snoring contest. The person I'm thinking of could snore at Olympic level. She's world class.
I have names for her various categories of snore. The worst, to my mind, is Hooting Pig, with Logging Camp a good second.
But I can find no place in my heart for any of the others either, which include Toad In A Drainpipe, Badly Oiled Earthmover, Plughole and Wasp In Bottle.
Those sticky strips you can glue across the bridge of your nose don't seem to have any effect on her at all. After initial success, in which we managed to reduce Wasp In Bottle to Gnat on Ceiling, she was back in business big time. Now, by opening her nasal tracts, all that seems to happen is that the volume goes up.
Since it's impossible to shut her up there are only two tactics which work for me. The easier but less sociable is to go to a room at the far end of the house – or the far end of the street if I can wangle it – and barricade the door with a number of pillows.
The other is less physically offensive. I have purchased a bag of industrial-strength ear plugs, the things used by people who operate road drills or masonry hammers.
But I have to get these in before she kicks off. And since she doesn’t snore every night I have to guess which night is going to be Wasp In Bottle or Hooting Pig and respond accordingly. Otherwise I'd never hear the alarm clock in the morning, and being consistently late for work because your other half is doing impressions of the Apocalypse is not an explanation that always meets with compassion.
If she does kick off and I haven't got the ear plugs in it just doesn't work. Ear plugs reduce the reverberations but don’t eliminate them, so I lie awake listening to a muffled version of what I imagine the end of the world would sound like from the Moon.
Like the elephants of the Serengeti or the blue whales of the Pacific her most profound nocturnal utterances are sub-aural; that is, they are capable of communicating distress and cataclysm at great distances, cracking plaster and disturbing foundations many miles away.
This snoring can be sensed in the bones and the deep juices of the brain and stomach without actually being heard.
After a while this level of vibration can be quite comforting. It may even be therapeutic. I haven't had ear wax or back pains for years.
But when the Toad In A Drainpipe or Badly Oiled Earthmover strikes up that’s the time to get out, and get out fast. Toad In A Drainpipe; picture a large mottled amphibian who has arrived too late at the mating pond. Everybody's had their orgy and gone home. So Lonesome Toad goes and sits in a big dank drainpipe and croaks in a distressingly melancholy, regular and sonorous way right through the night. Yes, right through the night and into the grey light of dawn.
In fact they all go on for ever. I can hardly bring myself to describe Hooting Pig. This will be a difficult concept to grasp, but try to imagine the sort of sound you'd get if you trod repeatedly with hobnailed boot on an asthmatic sow's snout while squeezing an owl. Any kind of owl, but I'd suggest a barn owl for the right level of hollow, soulful discomfort.
What's to be done? Not a lot. Millions of people live with far worse; going to bed hungry or cold, abused or neglected.
If snoring's as bad as it gets I'll take snoring. Though I might never learn to love it.