Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To Sleep Perchance to Dream

Recently I gave the Sandman his walking papers. He’s too old school anymore and his technique is just a big fat epic fail annoying. When I have to manually pry my sandy eyelids apart upon waking, it’s gross. Feels like kitty litter dust mixed with school  paste imbedded in my tearducts. Besides, Ol’ Sandy’s too busy these days to hang out, rub my back, and wait for me to roll over and catch the next shuttle-bubble to La-La land. And Bella, the Pomeranian Who Must Be Obeyed, creeps him out with her mind control melting chocolate M&M gaze.

Yes. My bitches My pets share my sleeping quarters with me. Bad “sleep hygiene” according to the experts. Unsavory according to people who don’t like pets. But they’re warm and twitchy, fun to watch when they dream of rabbits, and they will tag-team tear a new one in anyone breaking in, so I consider them to be added security if I get to sleep, ever.

What about the sheep you say? The sheep are plain fluffy and ineffectual with their vacant googley-eyed stares and incessant ruminant cud chewing. And my personal flock ‘o drunken surly well-armed Irish sheep just flip me off when I demand a little fence jumping. “Count this, bitch!”

The Tooth Fairy, I hear, is branching out into consulting on the merits of REM sleep. But she’s avoiding me since my dental habits don’t allow for lost teeth. Here it is though -  I’d trade the odd tooth quarter under my pillow for one stretch of uninterrupted blissful coma-style sleep. So, Tooth Fairy, bring it! (Just beware of Janie, the Frothing Grey Muzzled Labrador, who sleeps at my feet. She’ll eat your face off.)

Sleep stalks me, rings my doorbell and runs away.

Like sex, if it didn’t feel so good, we wouldn’t do it. I crave it at times. I invite it with bribes of good sleep hygiene, like a small glass of pinot grigio, a warm bath, clean, cool sheets, a good zombifying read like the Health Care Bill, and even Ambien. But three a.m. and I am up, awake and annoyed. I walk from one dark window in the house to another looking out at the moon and the Spanish moss undulating.  I listen to my favorite sounds ever: Owls hooting, the distant rumble and roar of the night train, the world asleep and exhaling, inhaling. I do like the sensations of the night walking. I will cop to that.

But when those pleasures are spent, as pleasures often are, I hit the cold blue light of the laptop. Google dishes up a bunch of articles on sleep disorders. They all lead to various forms of insanity explaining a whole hell of a lot.

Monophasic sleep best describes your thing. You get sleep eight to ten hours straight in one or two aesthetically pleasing art-worthy positions and, wrapped like a gift to this earth in fresh matching organized bedclothes, wake up smiling, refreshed and stretching to the sounds of coffee percolating and birdies chirping. Woodland creatures are, indeed, laying out your neatly pressed and fashionable clothes for what undoubtedly will be a STELLAR day in the neighborhood. From lights out to sun up, your consciousness rises and falls gently in wavelengths, but you stay just under that peak of being awake in full. You have circadian rhythm, Daddy-O!

Polyphasic sleep best describes my thing. Ninety minutes of so-called sleep, then wide awake, over and over again, day or night. By day, I get to nod off sitting up.  "Look Mommy at the funny lady sleeping in her car!" Or I get to discover, with a jerk and a start, that I have slumped over and drooled into my touchpad and there are several regimented small square impressions on my forehead from the keyboard. If I get to bed, I do my signature “levitate and spin” maneuver topped off with a dozen or so rotations of the pillow to “the cool side” while waiting for the sleep to get it’s lazy ass off the couch and help me out here. I wake up tangled in the bedclothes like a big sloppy burrito, cranky and wanting to go back to sleep but can’t. Got no rhythm, white girl!

One saving grace from what they say about sleep though, and this is supposedly the pay-off so before you turn me in to the thought police,  I'm not going to do anything crazy because of my sleep disorder:

I dream when I sleep. Huge panoramic well-plotted coherent dreams of epic proportions and in wide-screen Technicolor. And I remember them.  That is apparently the sign that I am receiving quality restorative sleep only it's on my own different-drummer terms.

I may be different, but I sure can entertain myself!

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