It is 2:30 am. You are fast asleep in your cozy bed, hoping not to be awakened by little people any time soon. You are probably also having marvelous dreams. Suddenly the blissful calm of your subconscious is pierced by the misplaced discordance of...of...what on earth is that?!
A tried and tested mom who has earned every badge in rapid awakening, you take a mere heartbeat to realize there is noise downstairs. Noise, and talking, and -- a lot of noise. Your instant assumption is that your little people are downstairs for some reason, at 2:30 am, doing something very loud which they are mere seconds away from regretting very much.
As you lurch from your bed and zig-zag in a sleepy run down the hall, your subconscious brain madly processes back through the last 10 minutes or so of your blissful sleep, and rejects your hypothesis, informing you that no bedroom doors have been opened and closed recently, and no little footfalls have traveled down the hall. As you launch yourself down the stairs, you further realize that in order for your children to be responsible for the noise downstairs, they must have the night-time ability to transform their voices into high pitched, annoying animation. Rounding the corner as you grapple with these bizarre bits of information, you come to a dead stop at the sight of the tv blaring something about very happy, animated bears. Why is the tv on??
You cautiously approach the tv and hit the power button, immediately grateful for the blessed silence, but then wary of it as you stand frozen in the darkness and consider further the question of just how, exactly, the tv came to be turned on at 2:30 am, considering that your entire family was fast asleep. None of the options that spring to mind make you feel at all comfortable about standing alone in the dark downstairs, and in a fit of cowardice that you will later try and fail to describe in a more flattering light, you spin around and flee back up the stairs, racing down the hall and leaping back into bed.
Your husband, who is still working on earning his first badge in rapid awakening, sits up halfway. "What was that?", he asks in confusion. As you describe the situation you are relieved to note that he is becoming more and more alert, and your gratitude knows no bounds when he swings his legs over the side of the bed and declares that he will go look through the house. Ever the brave and stalwart back-up person, you creep to the top of the stairs as he heads down them and assure yourself that standing prepared to call 911 while he does the really scary part is quite noble indeed.
Your straining ears catch no sound of mortal combat, and a couple of minutes later your husband climbs back up the stairs, looking puzzled. He has peered into every space in the house that is larger than one square foot, and found them all empty, checked all the doors, and found them all still locked. Unsettled, you both return to bed. There follows a period of half an hour during which you both repeatedly pretend to be sleeping, until one of you moves too sharply, the other realizes you're both still faking, and you have frequent intense mini conversations, each of you putting forth increasingly bizarre possible reasons for the tv to have suddenly blared forth into the sanctity of 2:30 am silence.
At 3:15, your husband suddenly leaps out of bed again, declaring, "Ok, that's it. I'm looking online!" A few minutes of clicking and typing later, he returns to announce that page after page of posts on the DirectTV website are filled with other people describing their own tv-turning-on-in-the-middle-of-the-night experiences! DirectTV has not offered any explanation, so there is a distinct possibility that what is really going on here is some sort of illicit communication with aliens. Or a company expansion mind control project. Perhaps if they had targeted a different household, one in which nobody had earned any badges at all in rapid awakening, the inhabitants of that house would have all awoken in the morning with an overwhelming urge to purchase the "Choice Ultimate" programming package.
As it is, you and your husband are finally able to drift back to sleep, processing the strange new knowledge that apparently tvs are able to turn themselves on at 2:30 am. Who knew?