Tag Archives: AWOL

Noise and Runaways

Otay! in reference to my post “Pick a Number,” in which I listed a number of writing prompts, JAMI of Days of Evolution said: “1) and 4) both sound fascinating.” So I think I will address both of them here.

# 1 of the list said: “I really need the silence.”

Recently I have heard sensitivity to noise referred to as “Misophonia.” I was very surprised to find that there is a word for it! Most of my life I have needed to be in a very quiet environment. Noise just drives me nutty! In fact, I am very much at peace when I have “white noise,” like my fan, going all the time (Say ‘white noise, white noise, white noise, 3 times fast! Ok, but I digress..). I don’t know then if using the fan qualifies as “misophonia,” since white noise is noise.

I wonder if I developed this because of growing up in a large family and sometimes hearing sounds of arguing or conflict going on. As many of you know, if you put 2 children in a room together, there will usually be conflict! Especially if a toy is involved! Then put 2 adults in a room together and well, you don’t even need a toy!

And even without conflict, there is background noise, there is kid noise, there’s the TV going, there’s the “running a household” noise – I am pretty much sensitive to all of them. I would just as soon escape and only hear myself. And even then I have to shush myself. (I do so love the sound of myself typing, though. Lol).

Another reason I am sensitive to noises is the fact that I am an introvert. Or am I an introvert because I am sensitive to noise? Most people would tell you I’m not an introvert. I’m the one who before church goes around and shakes everyone’s hand, especially the new people. I’m the one who at our community dinners is running around making sure everyone has everything they need. I’m the one who will sit down and chat with the person who needs an ear. You would think I was in my element. Well, in a way, I am. It’s what I do. But when it’s over? I run to my little cocoon. And oh please do not get in my way when it’s time for me to go home! And I am so happy. The longer I don’t have to hear people and noises, the better. Ahhhh…  I need the air to be quiet. Don’t chew out loud, don’t scratch out loud, don’t even breathe out loud. Don’t call me, don’t talk to me; go away.

Has it always been this way?

I don’t think so. I mean, the introversion, yes, you bet. But the noise sensitivity? The older I get, the worse it gets.

So, like I said, I don’t know if this counts as misophonia, but I do know I am most happy living alone – and I really need the quiet!


Okay! Jami also said she liked #4. Number four reads: “When my son disappeared when he was a child, and when he was AWOL from the Army.”

Talk about an emotional trigger. Just thinking about this circumstance and I am back there.

The first time was when DS (=dear son) was very young. I can’t say that I remember now how old he was, but way too young to be walking home from school alone, I know that now. It kills me that my memory is so bad that I can’t remember! I tell you this brain is so traumatized (mostly by itself!) that it just won’t work. But anyway, the situation was that I was waiting for DS to come home from school. It was well past the time that he was supposed to be home, and I began to become alarmed. I called a few people who might have known where he was, to no avail. I called his father (the last thing I wanted to do) and DEX (dear ex) came over. That was not my ideal sitch, trust me. I did everything I could to avoid that man, and this was even worse. Not only did I have to see him but I also had to present as a) weak and b) incompetent. Kind of hard to present that keep-your-distance brick wall when you are feeling that vulnerable.

Well, we called the cops, we called numerous friends, people were looking all over the neighborhood for DS. I live in a small-ish city, but large enough to have any number of unsavory persons, especially if my imagination is triggered, which it was. I left DEX at the apartment and started going door-to-door. The longer it was that we couldn’t find DS, the worse I felt. I was panicked and writing the script, each moment thinking of worse and worse things that were happening to our son. There weren’t even that many TV crime shows then, like there are now. But in my mind he had been kidnapped, raped, or horribly maimed and injured. At the very least, he was terrified. I was sure of it.

I held it together pretty well, considering. I was so focused on finding him that I couldn’t fall apart entirely. But the longer he was gone the worse I felt. The darker the sky became, naturally, the more I began to panic.

Finally we found DS. He had been walking, lackadaisically, la la la, along the railroad tracks, about 15 minutes away, for a small wandering boy. When I found out he was okay, all the potential things that could have happened to him ran through my mind. I felt the relief of knowing that he had not gone through all the things I had imagined, including the “run-over-by-a-big-gigantic-steam-engine” scenario.

When I finally got back to the apartment, I saw DS curled up on DEX’s lap, and I barely stopped to give my son a kiss. I walked through to the back end of the apartment, and I don’t think that I have ever cried that loud and hard in all my life. All the tears that I would have cried if something had truly happened to him, I cried in that moment. You would think that he had actually died, the way that I carried on.

Why had he run off? It came out later that he didn’t want to go to “that school” anymore. Back then, the focus seemed to be on telling him what he was doing wrong, versus what he was doing right. In a school that size, it did seem that their focus was more on getting the kids to behave, than to learn. At the time DS was being assessed to see what label they could stick on him, and it felt like I was being called to come get him every other day. So then he’d get to hear from Mom that he was misbehaving.

Shortly after that, DEX and I decided to go to therapy together to see if we could figure out how to help DS. We knew that there were other issues, besides school, that might be causing DS to have trouble. Being in therapy with DEX was the last thing on Earth that I wanted; we’d already tried that when we were married. But after what had happened, and seeing how unhappy DS was, we knew we would try just about anything.

Unfortunately, our focus soon because “us.” DEX started flirting outrageously with me in sessions, and even sent me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. I could only giggle in response. That poor therapist must have had muscle cramps trying not to roll her eyes. We soon became romantically involved with each other once more. I guess we thought that ultimately that was the thing that would help DS the most – an intact family; a Dad and Mom who loved each other. We got married again and lived hap… no. Nononon. Actually, what happened is that we proved to our DS that the first divorce had been warranted, and we were certifiably insane to have tried it again.

Fast forward: DS is in the Army. Goes AWOL. Talk about déjà vu (by the way, the title of an excellent movie). The way my body and my mind reacted to his going missing, you would think DS was in grade school again. I went absolutely nuts as I imagined all the possible outcomes of his being at large. All our efforts to contact him went unrewarded; he just was not going to answer. His friends all said they had no idea where he was. I wasn’t just worried about him being in danger (although, when a soldier goes AWOL it is a pretty serious thing). I was also worried about whether he was thinking of harming himself. He had access to a weapon and not the best genes in the world, his mom and dad both having a history of addiction and mental illness. I pretty much called out the National Guard and anyone who had any amount of political clout. I wanted my baby home safe and that was all I cared about! Long story short, he returned, physically and emotionally intact, but I was scarred, again, for life. I still don’t do well when he doesn’t return phone calls or answer texts, and that will probably continue until he is 90 years old.