Of Course I’m Afraid of Nuclear Fallout

[220/365] Nuclear Fear (Explored)
Photo by pasukaru76 @ Flickr
I’ve been having weird dreams lately. And sleeping kinda restlessly. Sleep is literally my favorite thing to do, so it makes me a little bit cranky when it doesn’t work out quite the way I want it to. A lot of things make me cranky, though. Like:

  • Bathrooms that don’t have toilet seat covers
  • When you think you have another mango in the fridge, but discover you don’t
  • (Related) Starting a recipe and discovering half way through that you’re missing a key ingredient
  • People that don’t signal
  • Anything sticky

I could go on for some time in this fashion, because I’m essentially an 84-year-old woman in a 33-year-old’s body. I’m fine with that.

Aaaanyway…so yes, I’ve been having cranky-making sleep as of late. And the weird dreams always linger in the morning, so I spend the first couple hours of the day trying to get over the yelling match I had with my non-existent boss while ice skating; or the panic of accidentally marrying some terrible other person, then remembering I’m married to someone great, and now I have some serious paperwork to do; or spilling ALL the milk in the grocery store and trying in vain to clean it up before anyone notices.

This is a piss poor way to start the day, friends. If I was dreaming about flying that crazy dog thing from the NeverEnding Story to a sushi restaurant where I ate some yummy nigiri, the morning would be spent with the lingering memory of tasty fish. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Anyway, what happened the other night is WORSE than all those other stupid things. You know those times where you roll over and you’re awake for a little nanosecond and then you fall back asleep again? Well, something happened in that nanosecond. A little noise. Like, a bang or something. I live in the city, so it was probably someone’s cat farting in a trash can. You know, something innocuous like that. It was definitely not, as my sleepy little mind imagined, a nuclear bomb being intercepted high above the city, whose toxic contents were now showering 1.2 million people, all of whom, including myself and my family, were soon to have melting insides.

Yeah, it definitely wasn’t that.

But to a sleepy little brain, whose imagination truly knows no bounds, that didn’t matter one little bit. Nope, because the idea had hatched, like a frightening sharp-toothed alien turtle, and now it was going to rip apart my conscience like a squeaky chew toy. Can I just say that I’m super fun? I mean, like a laugh riot o’ fun.

So the next half hour’s thoughts went like this:

That was probably a nuclear bomb.

Okay, it definitely wasn’t.

But probably most certainly was. *scratches skin* Is my skin coming off? No, not yet. That’s good. But when will it? Or is that even the right test? Do your insides just melt or something? I think I remember reading that once. And that all the DNA in all of my cells is fried now. What happens?

Everyone is going to die. We don’t have enough food in the house to survive nuclear fallout. I’m a terrible parent. Couldn’t I have just donated $50 to NPR? I’m pretty sure one of their contributor gifts would save my whole family, AND keep Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me on the air. What the hell is my problem?!

I should check Google.

You definitely should not check Google, you crazy SOB. Stay in bed. GO TO BED.  Now. Go to bed now. Now. Right now.

I should check Google. Although, would they even put it on Google? The government would probably hide it as long as possible as to not create a panic. But I know already. I’m ahead of the curve.

My poor family. We can’t drink the water now, probably. We have no water or food and our insides are melting.

And THEN…and then. Oh freaking lord, and then. I start thinking how if we’re going to starve, and dehydrate, and our insides were turning to goo, then we should probably figure out a way to commit suicide together.


And that’s when I a) see, in stark relief, that this line of thinking has gone a touch too far and b) beg whatever demented gremlin that has taken over my brain to please, oh please, oh please let me fall asleep.

To my credit, I didn’t check Google. Somehow, I fell back asleep. And in the morning, everyone’s insides were intact, and the fear that had gripped me so tightly in the middle of the night was gone. Like magic. Poof.

I don’t know how this stuff happens, but I know this: I don’t want to live gripped in fear. I hate that fear gets the best of me sometimes. Clearly, it’s a pretty big freaking bummer. The last few months have given us all a thousand things to fear, and it seems like that won’t be letting up any time soon. But fear and worry have never solved anything. So I’m gonna try to do less of that.

Good luck to me. Good luck to all of us.

(p.s. I’ve decided I won’t be watching that new show, The Following. I’m pretty sure it will make me afraid of all humans—even the baby ones. An ounce of prevention…)

What kind of monsters are in your closet?



  1. Oh my gosh, this kind of things happens to me so much. I get these strange night frights, and the feelings of fear are so real, but I don’t realize it until the next morning and I lay in bed stressing like crazy in the middle of the night!


  2. I have never dreamed nuclear fall out before but my dreams related mostly about Lucid dream that someone is catching and chasing me and I can able to fly. Though dreams believed that they’re just a product of stressed but I have also read that dreams are important for memory consolidation or conflict resolution or some-kind of premonition. Great post by the way! Congratulation for being on Freshly Press!


  3. I feel your pain, although the threat of a zombiepocolyse is the thing that keeps me up at night rather then a nuclear one, although I suppose nuclear fallout could result in zombie mutation… oh dear


    • Zombiepocalypse gets me too! While reading a scary such novel recently I woke up, leapt out of bed, and ran down the hall at zero to 60 in under three seconds, before realising I was standing in my lounge and the apocalypse had not quite happened yet. Just as scary riding the train in the waking hours tho – zombies, zombies everywhere!


  4. I woke up in the middle of the night convinced that I was pregnant. There was no doubt about it. Being young and trying to finish school, this wasn’t a good thing. I almost woke up my husband to tell him because I was so scared!


  5. Oh, there’s a gazillion monsters lurking in my brain’s closet. I have had dreams of T-rexs stalking me and my sisters up our parents’ driveway and into the house (you know that scene in Jurassic Park where the T-rex looks through the window with one massive yellow eye… yeah, that one except through the window). I had a dream not the other day where there were the two-legged walkers from Star Wars crossed with Terminators stalking around my yard.

    But usually they’re quite fun, and end up with me having some sort of superpowers. Being a girl ported into another world is a normal theme. I’ve been an AI that supports a huge Metal Earth, a girl who is the only princess in a land full of princes, a warrior that is unable to draw her sword otherwise a demon would take over her, a girl who had to race to the top of a tower with her companion who turns out to be a massive light-blue Eastern dragon, and the list goes on.

    Don’t always let your dreams be those of terror, and think of some amazing stories of what you love before you go to sleep. They may turn out for the better.


  6. I keep dreaming about the extremely creepy house I grew up in. x_x;;; We moved out of there when I was about 12, but it all still lingers.

    I always think there’s a large, unstable staircase leading up to an attic that’s clearly haunted by the ghost of some relative I never knew.


  7. My ex forgot to tell me once that his daughter had spent the weekend at our house when we were out of town. In the morning, in the toilet, I dropped the newspaper and when I picked it up there was white powder on the floor underneath it. I thought it was anthrax in my “political” newspaper. I lived in the Capital. This was a month after 9-11. So… I called 9-1-1 asking them how many people had already called them for the anthrax in that morning’s Globe & Mail. Minutes laters all hell broke loose, sirens everywhere, men in haz-mat suits storming our house. And my neighbors all hiding behind their curtains. Ha! Afraid? Me? I only wished I’d thought of checking with google before picking up the phone!

    p.s. it was baby powder she never cleaned up…


  8. Man, I should definitely NOT have read this at work – I laughed so hard – no at you, Melanie, totally with you…just having come from a crazy weirdo dream myself…loved it – can’t wait to read more of what you have to say!


  9. Maybe not the article I had expected, but very well written nonetheless. I enjoyed it, especially the following :”it was probably someone’s cat farting in a trash can.”. I didn’t know cats could and would do that, but I can picture it in my mind! Still laughing. I am a veterinarian, so I am now going to be on the lookout for this strange phenomenon!


  10. I liked it. The though process was interesting. I would love it if there was some kind of softward you could plug into your brain that simply plotted the thought process. But then if there was such a program and anyone ever looked critically at mine, and apparently yours, we would be caged and prodded. AND I loved the cat farting in a garbage can line!


  11. Best post ever. My brain does this kind of hilarious yet truly annoying and crazy stuff all the time. I could scream. But there is also a sick humor in it as well. And yes, I’m terrified of nuclear fallout and yes, I do imagine that things like that have happened in the middle of the night. EEEKK!!! Go back to sleep!! NOW!!!


  12. Loved this–especially the list of things that make you cranky. Oh, and the destructive thought process: there really is nothing like a good parade of horribles to prevent one from sleeping, now is there! Speaking of The Following, the pilot was amazing. But don’t watch it. It will indeed make you afraid of all humans.


  13. Weird dreams all the way. I have/used to have a sleeping disorder – sleep paralysis. My experience of it was that I was falling asleep > sensation of falling > my mind being wide awake and my body unable to move for a good 3-4 mins While my mind frantically tries to figure out what’s going one > with buzzing noises thrown in on some days > waking up and not being able to sleep in fear it would happen again. Not cool.

    My dreams are very detailed and so are my memories of dreams. I freak myself out on a daily basis with the things that my brain rustles up in my sleep 😛 Just put it down as an awesome imagination and they won’t shut you away 😛


  14. Your train of thought seems perfectly reasonable to me. My brain “catastrophizes” so fast I have everyone’s funeral already planned out within three minutes of a weird loud noise. Hope you find your happy sleep patterns restored soon!


  15. Luck dragons and sushi sound pretty awesome. I’d be content to start the day that way. Lately, I’ve been revisiting nightmares from my early childhood and bizarre combinations of the three books I’m reading right now (“The Hobbitt”, Kellerman’s “True Crime”, and Doidge’s “The Brain That Changes Itself”), so basically Trolls plus psychopaths plus neuroplasticity plus bits and pieces of grad school and some other projects…. Yeah. It might be time to switch to Chick Lit….


  16. I had a great one once where I woke up drenched in cold sweat as the blade of a guillotine operated by the deputy-head in the library of the school I went to in my teens sliced through my neck. Fun all the way. Brains really can be gruesome little things can’t they?


  17. Once, when I was about 12, my class took a trip to space-camp in Huntsville Alabama. Although I had previously been at many camps, and I am used to sleeping away from home, my brain often freaks out if it realizes that the bed feels different. At space-camp, the rooms are these capsules shaped like sideways cylinders. That means that the walls and the ceiling are the same curving surface. If you’re on the top bunk (which I was) then the ceiling/wall is about five inches from your face. As I woke up on the second day, my brain realized that the bed was weird (at space-camp the sheets are like plastic bags), and it made me sit up as fast as possible, in full alert mode. After smacking my face into the ceiling/wall, I was in unconscious mode. And don’t even get me started on camping in the woods… I wake up like lying against a tree outside. How? No clue…


  18. I just wanted to say, I am glad I am not the only one that suffers from this kind of thing! The monster in my closet is a vampire! and not one of those sexy ones either or I wouldn’t mind so much, LOL.


  19. Lmao. This reminds me of a recurring dream I have. I’m even a little hesitant to even say it, since it makes a good plot for a B grade horror movie. What happens is, an iceberg floats down to a nearby pond and scientists find a preserved Cro magnon man inside. When they thaw him out, it releases some sort of prehistoric apocalytpic virus that turns people into brain eating zombies (cliched, I know, but very effective in scaring the bejeesus out of you when you’re trapped in said infested town). Fast forward through the whole running sequence where I jump off a cliff or building and wake up on the floor, promising myself I’ll burn the damned microbiology text in the morning. I really should too.


  20. At least you didn’t have my nightmare, where a pair of scissors came to life and tried cutting my wrists. I woke up checking my arms to see if they were bleeding!
    And if you don’t want to see “The Following”, I recommend not looking up the new show NBC’s making called “Hannibal”, based on–you guessed it–Hannibal Lecter.


  21. The monsters in my closet tell me that the bad guys are going to win. Mostly I don’t believe them, but sometimes (just a little less than mostly), late at night, when I should be sleeping, I do. And then it sucks.


  22. One time, during my masters program, my alarm clock went off, and as I hit ‘snooze’ I realized that the radio was speaking Japanese. I convinced myself that there had been another ‘Pearl Harbor’ and the Japanese had taken over our airwaves… a concern which evidently was insufficient to deter me from taking the next 10 minutes of snooze-time. I think I was just dreaming in Japanese, which is super-weird because I don’t speak Japanese.


  23. Too funny Melanie. I remember having an experience like this. I woke up (half way) and it was thundering outside. Loudly. Instead of just recognizing that it was a normal ole storm, I had this immense fear in my head that it was something huge in outer space making the thunder noise and that any minute, a planet would crash into Earth obliterating us all. It was lovely.


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