|When a loud crash at your door sends you running to find this, trust me, you're not glad you looked.|
In other instances, say in the middle of the night, it's just some kind of knock or far-off crash that is probably the wind, but that's not a good enough explanation. My wife insists it never is. I have to go check it out and see what the cause is. My default answer is "car door," but it's never satisfactory until I have done a quick survey of the house, made sure the kids are still in bed, and fend off any possible intruders who have clumsily made their presence known. Again, it's my responsibility to check it out, but honestly, I don't want to know what made the noise. If it really is a burglar, what am I going to do? Grab a knife? The gun I don't own? A flyswatter or some Lemon Pledge? I'd probably just tell him or her, "Hey, could you wrap it up and get out? My wife is expecting the 'all clear' and I want to be able to pass this off as a car door slamming. That can't happen if you keep banging around." I don't know what I'd do. I don't want to know. All things considered, I'd rather not investigate the noise.
One Sunday morning I had no choice, because it was one of those sounds you just can't ignore, as much as I wanted to: a loud, sharp bang followed by the unmistakable melody of glass smashing into smithereens. It was the day before the night before Christmas, actually. I ran down to the front door to see what was the matter, and I saw that a storm caused my storm door to shatter. I'll stop rhyming and get to the point. When I solved the mystery behind the noise, there was nothing I could do. Snow was packed up on the outside of the door, and any adjustment from the inside was sure to dislodge the glass trapped between the outer screen and the lower, unbroken pane inside. So I just left it. Until March, actually. It stayed pretty crappy outside for a long time, and I just didn't have the time to deal with that mess. We had other doors we could exit through.
As it turned out, and as it very often does, that scary noise didn't actually require the attention one's instincts tend to ascribe to it. Such startling sounds might be worth a look occasionally and demand a response every now and then, but a lot of the time it's just not worth the investigation. Even if it is something significant, there's probably not much I can do about it.