I know what you're thinking. "Sure, sure. You're a sound sleeper. I know lots of sound sleepers. You surely must be exaggerating for comic effect." I appreciate that you are a discerning and questioning audience, so I will support my claim with the facts.
I am thirteen years old and living in Goderich. Our house was on the very edge of town, and just past us was a field with a barn in it. One night, the barn caught fire and burned down. Now, you can imagine that this was a pretty spectacular sight. Pitch black sky. Burning barn. Clearly, a sight to be seen. So, my parents woke up my brother, brought him to the window, and tried to wake up me. Now, I have no memory of this, but apparently, after much shaking and talking, I got out of bed, walked to the window and proceeded to babble about random non-fire related things. At this point, my parents realized that I was still asleep and I wasn't waking up any time soon. They walked me back to bed, and proceeded to have all the fun of watching a building burn down without me.
I am eighteen years old and at university. My friend Sean has left his shoes in my room during a night of drinking and merriment. When he wakes up in the morning, he realizes that he is shoe-less. Normally, this wouldn't be a huge problem, but on this particular day, he was going to see the Dini Petty Show being filmed. I do not recall him being a big Dini Petty fan, so I'm not sure why this was.
Anyway, many hours after his departure, I wake up to the following messages on my phone:
Message 1: "Hey Alice, it's Sean. I left my shoes in your room, so I'm going to come and get them. Be there in a sec."
Message 2: "Hey Alice, it's Sean again. I just knocked on your door for like five minutes. Are you there? I'm going to try again. I need my shoes."
Message 3: "Right, that didn't work. I know you're in there. WAKE UP! I'm going to try again."
Message 4: "Do you have a head injury? Should I seek medical help? Why won't you wake up?? I'm trying one more time."
Message 5: "Fine, keep the shoes."
I am twenty four years old and living in London. My clubbing flatmates have arrived home at four in the morning with a group of mutual friends. They decide, in their drunkenness and/or highness, to include me in their fun. Allegedly, flatmate Claire knocked on my door, opened it, and said very loudly "Hey Alice, want to come and have a drink with us?" Allegedly, I sat up in bed, growled and/or muttered something unintelligible, lay down again and was all cozy in sleep land once again. I heard the story the next day. It was considered quite the high comedy and it took me moving out of the crazy flat to escape it.
So, you can see. I am a sound sleeper.
But every good rule has an exception. I worked at a summer camp for four years. And, for the last two of those years, I lived with my friend Kristine in the youngest kids' section. And if one of those kids even whispered my name in the middle of the night, I was up like a shot, and in their cabin to find out what was wrong. The someone-in-need is the only thing that can penetrate my sound sleeping.
Last night, I was sound asleep, when I thought I heard flatmate Buffy say my name. Well, I thought I heard her say "Al", which is what I am called from time to time. I was immediately up like shot and crept into the hallway.
Me (whispering): Buffy? Are you okay?
Me (slightly louder): Buffy? Is everything all right?
Buffy (appearing at her door): What? Of course it is.
Me (confused): Oh. I thought I heard you say my name.
Buffy (also confused): Um, no.
Me (still confused): Okay, goodnight then.
Buffy (no longer confused): I did run into the crate on the floor when I was coming back from the bathroom. I said "ow" real quiet like.
Me (so very tired): Right. Ow and Al are different words. Goodnight.
And what is the lesson we learn from this? If you are in the vicinity of me sleeping, do not speak quietly and say anything even remotely resembling my name, because apparently that will wake me up.
I would prefer to be yelled at by name and shaken. I'll sleep right through that.