Snoring is supposedly the cause of much marital anguish. From a seductive cat-like purr to something that sounds like a train braking suddenly, snoring has many times been cited as a major cause of marital discord.
In my house snoring has become an issue. Now, in spite of what my wife says, I do not snore and never have. When my wife or daughter cites examples, I point out to them that they're asleep at the time and merely dreaming that I'm snoring -- an answer that is generally met with hoots of derision. That's not to say that we don't have a problem with snoring in this family: we do. It's my wife.
It's difficult to describe my wife Ann's snoring. Her snores fall somewhere between the tortuous grinding of huge metal gears and the growling of a large vicious animal. Many's the night I've awakened in the night to hear her grinding away at full volume -- enough to rattle the glass of water I keep on my bedside stand. If I get her to roll over she merely resumes at her previous volume and timbre. Nasal strips didn't work, neither did sleeping on her stomach. Waking her up worked, but she could never get back to sleep, and the resulting two days of snarling that ensued due to her lost sleep almost made the snoring seem desirable.
Desperate times call for desperate measures: I researched snoring on the internet, and discovered a (non-medical) site that recommended whistling as a means of stopping a loved one from breaking your ear-drums. I read the page somewhat skeptically -- whistling? For snoring?
What the heck, I was so desperate I was willing to try anything. I awakened one night not long after to hear something that sounded like a washing machine breaking down in our room. Ok, I thought sleepily. Perfect time to test out the whistling theory.
I gave out a low-pitched, musical whistle of about 2 seconds duration. Ann's snoring stopped in mid-snort, she gasped and muttered, then all was quiet.
Hey, maybe this is the answer to my prayers, I thought. I settled down to sleep, content in finding such a cheap, readily available solution. I was drifting off, when Ann once again started up, this time sounding like my neighbor Carlos' wood-chipper. I rolled over and whistled again, much louder and longer. Maybe I just hadn't whistled long or loud enough the first time.
The effect was instantaneous. She stopped in mid-snarl, breathed heavily in the dark, then all was silent for a moment.
"Basil." Her voice was quiet, cold, low-pitched.
"Yeah," I mumbled.
"You're whistling at 3:00 in the morning."
"Why are you whistling at 3:00 in the morning?"
I cleared my throat. "Well, um, you were snoring, see. And I read on the internet that if you whistle while somebody is snoring, they'll stop."
A chilly silence for a moment. "Well, it worked, because I'm wide awake. Enjoy your sleep." She silently got up out of bed and a moment later was gone.
I didn't repeat the whistling cure: the results of the 'cure' were ultimately unsatisfying, as I sleep poorly alone. These days I keep a fan at the foot of my bed which works quite well. In fact, it serves a double purpose: it drowns out the noise from passing cars on our street and it drowns out the noise from the other side of my bed. It's an imperfect solution, but it'll do until such time as I require daily assistance from a hearing aid. At that point I'll simply disconnect the hearing aid at bedtime and repose in blissful silence. In the meantime, snore on, darling. I've got my fan on.