Sunday, March 28, 2010

How Not to Get Sleep

I've been so tired this last week or more. I am trying to get more sleep, but the sleep has not been fulfilling. Last night, I decided to go to bed very early in hopes of breaking the cycle and catching up on some sleep, but instead, I ended up just laying there bored. As tired as I was, sleep would just not come. And my body felt hot and sticky, even though the air was cold. I have learned from experience that when my body feels hot for no good reason, sleep will never come. So finally, I got up again and read a book for another hour and a half until my body began to feel the cold air again.

I slept for maybe an hour before waking to feel a nagging energy moving along my spine. Sometimes, energy there feels good but other times, like last night, it just feels irritating and exhausting. I lay awake for another half hour and then tried something that sometimes works. I don't know why, but sometimes if I turn around in the bed so my feet and head have reversed position, then I can get some sleep.

It worked for a while. I slept for another hour, until I heard a beep beep beep noise coming from the storage room that shares a door with my bedroom. My mother had piled all manner of storage items on shelves in that room and for the last month, something occasionally omitted beeping noises from there late at night. The beeping was short lived and always occurs late at night when I was sleeping, and each time, by the time I raced in there to find the noisemaker, the sound had already shut off before I could decipher what was making it. But over time, I had at least narrowed it down to a general location and this night, I raced into the room with renewed determination. And at long last I found it! Tucked into a corner behind some spray cans was a tiny portable battery operated alarm clock that was no bigger than the size of a large thumb. Victory! I had located the late night noise maker. I turned the alarm option to 'off' and waltzed back into my room plenty pleased to have finally solved that problem. Finally, I would get some sleep!

Then I lay for another half hour bored but no sleep. I almost decided to try my most desperate strategy, which is to lay on the hard floor. For some reason, which I fathom not, when I feel hot for no good reason and cannot sleep, I have found that if I lay on the hard floor for about 30 minutes, I can usually sleep after that. But who wants to lay on a hard floor for 30 minutes! Not me, that is for sure. And luckily, I finally drifted off before having to exercise that option.

Except that several hours later, I was suddenly jarred awake when my right hand and arm, apparently for no good reason, shot out from under the covers and clutched at the air violently, as if to catch an invisible fly or something. I didn't even know that my arm could move that fast! And why had I done that? I was not aware of having been dreaming and I am very good at remembering recent dreams. Now I was somewhat unnerved by the apparently illogical and alien actions of my own hand. In fact, I had clenched my hand so roughly and quickly that the ring finger nail had gouged itself into the flesh on the outside of my thumb, and now as I lay there not sleeping and feeling a bit freaked out, I could feel the top of the thumb throbbing from where I had gouged myself.

But by this time, I was oh so very tired and despite the weirdness, I managed to drift off again. I dreamt about a place where 10 foot tall brown plywood walls had been erected all around for the sole purpose of displaying artworks. The walls had been set up as if to form roads and allyways, but all the traffic was foot traffic and there was plenty of it! This was a culteral meeting place where many people would walk and discuss the art that had been given by volunteers. Theft was not an issue and neither was money. Surely, this must have been in another kind of world, but all the people looked human and I felt that this was a place I had visited countless times before. Ironically, I was not much interested in the art itself, but I loved the place for it's happy ambiance and good memories. I dallied here for a while until, in a semiconscious state, I knew it would soon be time to wake up and go to work. But now I was so tired that I did not want to face waking up!

I considered other options. Maybe I could just open one eye for a while and work my way up to two eyes. I tried this and it seemed easier. I opened the one eye and saw through a small round aperature the sight of several people walking around in the front part of a store. This one eyed seeing seemed relaxing until a part of me realized that eyesight does not involve little round aperatures and my bedroom is not in a store. Therefore, I must not actually be seeing with my eyes!

I was starting to become lucid and determined to see more so I opened both my 'eyes' and watched as people came through the swinging glass doors of this place. First came several black guys in their 20s dressed in casual clothes. They were my homies and I was glad to see them but despite that, we all remained subdued in our greeting. Behind them came a powerful figure of a black woman, tall and trim and looking to be in her 40s. Her hair was set into some kind of ultra refined dreadlock type style like thin cords of hair, that balanced beautifully with her handsome face and high cheakbones. This was a powerful and stately woman both in appearance and in demeanor. SHe commanded respect and was accustomed to getting it. And by the stern look on her face, she was not happy with me.

I smiled tightly and followed them all to a long rectangular table where we all sat down. She began to lecture me about being irresponsible. She spoke of some trouble that "Tony" had gotten into and talked about how it related to me, and I heard myself respectfully saying "Yes Ma." I had been gone away from them for a while and had not told them before I left. Even now, I had told them very little of what I had been doing and most of this meeting would be about me telling her as little as possible. She was angry but as the night wore on, I expected she would loosen up. I would just have to listen and do my best until the mood lightened. Even now, I longed to make a joke about sweet and sour sauce that someone's comment had triggered, but I knew it was too soon. Joking now would only anger my mother, but hopefully later, we could turn to a lighter mood. Meanwhile, all of us would wait patiently.

A part of me that was still me and not the black man was listening and trying to take notes. I jumped on the name "Tony" and vowed to remember it, but much of the rest was gone moments after waking. And waking I did, this time for real, as that day's work still demanded my attention. I crawled out of bed and considered the nights fitful events. Wondering about the incident with the grabbing hand, I inspected the back of my right thumb and found the stabbing imprint still there and sore, so I knew the whole thing had not been a dream. I had really grabbed out into the air for some reason and I had really stabbed into my own thumb. But why? Now my eyes were blurred from grogginess and a light pain between my eyes would be slow to resolve itself. My thumb hurt and so did my shoulder, perhaps also from the violent flailing motion of the grab. Looks like it would be another day of tired exhaustion.

Maybe tomorrow I would get to bed early and catch up on some sleep!

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