Most people experience nostalgia for things like acumen in sports or being pretty or living in a world where big decisions meant Froot Loops and Count Chocula. Personally, what I miss the most is sleep. I was the soundest sleeper in town. They told stories about it – how I used to nod off while watching TV (sitting upright) and have to be carried to bed, where I would wake 12 hours later happy and refreshed.
Then I reached a certain age, right around the time it became apparent that life wasn’t just one big Hardy Boys novel (action! suspense! no need whatsoever for disposable income!), and suddenly sleeping wasn’t so easy. I’d wake up early in the morning and immediately start thinking about life choices, get-rich quick schemes, and ways to avoid that awkward moment when you’re putting on a condom and the girl basically just sits there watching (excuse yourself to the bathroom?). You know, LIFE.
It’s gotten better, thanks to Ambien and the growing realization that 95% of what you do with your life doesn’t matter in the grand scheme (shout out, Camus!); but still sometimes I find myself wide awake at 4:00 a.m., unable to sleep, just thinking. This is how it happens.
3:59 a.m. I’m startled awake by a half-asleep Brooke trying to reposition my body in order to cuddle me. She gives up a few moments later, leaving me awake, violated.
4:25 a.m. I think of the TV show Medium. Every episode starts with Patricia Arquette’s husband being startled awake when she has another psychic nightmare. How has he not started sleeping in the spare room by now? For a show about a woman with psychic abilities, this is the most unbelievable part.
4:46 a.m. There is a nagging feeling that I forgot to do something before I went to bed. After ten minutes of racking my brain, I realize that what I forgot to do I set the TiVo for the So You Think You Can Dance results show. The fact that this is something on my to-do list leads me to consider the possibility that I need to do more things.
4:51 a.m. Here comes the urge to go to the bathroom. I’m hesitant to give in, though, because I’m convinced that the human body can get into “pee cycles” in which a person doesn’t really have to go, but thinks they do because they went at that time for the past two nights. The resulting catch-22 is that I can lay there, uncomfortable, not able to fall back to sleep, or I can go pee, thus perpetuating the cycle.
5:08 a.m. Defeated, I pee.
5:32 a.m. Some years ago, I devised a technique to help treat my insomnia. Because I always seem to fall back to sleep right as it’s time to actually wake up, I try to trick my brain into thinking that it is, in fact, time to wake up. “OK, five more minutes and we start the day!” I think, going so far as to swing one leg out of bed. Though the underlying theory is sound, in practice the tactic remains ineffective. This goes on for about 20 minutes.
5:52 a.m. Tactic #2: In order to distract my mind from the frustration of sleeplessness, I attempt to make a list of every girl I have ever kissed. The fact that I can’t do it fills me with a
shameful pride prideful shame shameful pride.
6:10 a.m. Puppy jumps onto the bed and immediately walks over to sniff my face, presumably to make sure that I am alive and haven’t pulled the old switcheroo on him. (Note: The oldest switcheroo dates back to the time of pagan rituals. People who were going to be sacrificed to gods would find the corpse of someone who looked like them – everyone looked the same back then; you’ve seen the wall drawings – and place the corpse in their bed the morning of the sacrifice.) Satisfied that it is indeed me, Puppy lays on my pillow, forcing me to roll over in order to avoid the bizarrely intense corn chip odor from his paws.
6:33 a.m. Gentle weeping.
7:14 a.m. The sun comes pouring in through the cracks in the shades like this.
7:37 a.m. Resigned, I plan my morning. I will wake up and make coffee. I will take The Onion, which I have been receiving via mysterious free subscription for over a year now, out onto the balcony and watch the sun rise over the bay while laughing at hilariously crafted headlines like “Area Grandmother Tries Indian Food.” I’ll appreciate all the good things about life instead of bemoaning my restlessness. In fact, I will embrace the fact that I am not sleeping through these beautiful life moments, the ones that make each day special.
7:38 a.m. Doze off.
8:30 a.m. Get woken up by the alarm right at the point of my dream where the girl I randomly made out with freshman year of college uses her psychic powers to tell me who won on So You Think You Can Dance, then sets down her glass of Kool Aid, sniffs me face, cuddles up to me, and turns away so I can put the condom on in privacy.
This guy knows what I’m talking about.