#317: KEEPING IT TOGETHER THREE OR FOUR HOURS OF SLEEP AT A TIME

in·som·nia in-sahm'nee-uh (Latin, from insomnis sleepless, from in- + somnus sleep) n.: prolonged and usually abnormal inability to obtain adequate sleep

Last night was an exercise in pushing the boundaries of my patience. Normally my boundaries are reached fairly quickly if I am being pressed in just the right manner, and insomnia seems to have a knack for it.

I have been suffering through sleepless night after sleepless night for about three weeks now, and frankly, I am surprising myself with my ability to function after so many consecutive nights consisting of two to four hours of sleep, especially when that sleep doesn't occur all together. Last night, I fell asleep sometime after eleven and woke up at exactly two in the morning. My eyes simply opened, and I was fully awake, thinking to myself Now this is strange. Am I having a lucid dream? It was as though I had never been sleepy or slept at all. It may as well have been two in the afternoon.

2:00 am: My eyes fly open and I am suddenly aware of what sounds like three people standing far down the sidewalk from each other yelling a conversation back and forth. They are directly in front of my apartment building and standing at either end. I wish mightily for a bb gun. I also wish mightily to wake up to a world in which people are much smarter and no longer think it is appropriate to yell across fifty feet at each other at 2:00 am under the windows of an apartment building. My last wish is for the three interlopers to violently stub their feet on the way home, and maybe fall in puddles, and possibly be woken up at 3:00 am by people yelling under their bedroom windows.

3:27 am: I am still fantasizing about screaming under the interlopers' windows. I place the blame for the fact of my continuing wakefulness squarely on their shoulders. At this point, though, I am busy feeling foul and am placing blame all over the place. I blame the deplorable state of my bowels on all the meat I've been eating; I blame my constant pricks of irritation on the Fiery One's unconscious attempts at cuddling*; I blame myself for not taking care of this problem earlier, which would have saved me from this futile struggle against every bloody noise and scrap of light. Everyone is at fault for something, and I am getting to the root of it.

I am learning that I require much more water awake than when I am sleeping, because I keep having to guzzle it down to keep my throat from sticking to itself.

4:01 am: The crows can fucking go to hell. The fuckers have started cawing and yawling in the tree I used to love right outside my window. Again, my kingdom for a bb gun. What are they going on about, anyway?

- OH, LOOK. I'M IN A TREE.
~ COOL. ME, TOO.
- DID YOU JUST WAKE UP?
~ YUP, EARLY BIRD AND ALL THAT.
- LET'S GO GRAB THAT HALF-BURGER I SAW ON 14TH AND LORNE.
~ WAIT A SEC. WE SHOULD YELL OUTSIDE THIS WINDOW A LITTLE MORE. I HEAR THE LADY INSIDE SOUNDS ALMOST LIKE US AT THIS TIME OF DAY.

Bloody fucking hell.

4:14 am: I start figuring out how long it might take me to fall asleep so that I can figure out how much time I can add to the three hours of sleep I had up until two hours and fourteen minutes ago. I figure that if things miraculously take a turn for the better, I could add on another hour and a half, but I am being realistic and am gunning for an hour. Two sessions equalling four hours of sleep at the tail end of what is approximately a stretch of twenty-one days might leave me a puddly, weeping mess by noon, but I can hide my sorry self in the rows of filing cabinets for the afternoon if need be.

I desperately fight the obsessive calculations I am doing in my head, because they spiral me further and further away from my intended goal.

4:38 am: I am truly losing hope. The amount of bed that the Fiery One affords me is the width of my body plus three inches. I stare at the remaing three inches. I stick my index finger into the meat of his shoulder. He raises and lowers his shoulder. He pretends to shuffle over without actually moving anywhere. I try to remember my wedding vows.

4:56 am: Strangely, in losing all hope of slipping into sleep for even a fifteen-minute span, I am invigorated. In no longer fighting wakefulness and accepting its presence, I now have options. Do I allow myself to get up and go to the bathroom? Before this was not allowed, because it would wake my body up. More water? Hell, I could send e-mails or read Harper's.

5:03 am: I weep silently into one pillow while holding another over the back of my head. Perhaps drastically decreased oxygen levels will lull me into at least a state of listless torpor. Obviously, thinking that the weeping would hold off until noon was not a realistic expectation.

5:07 am: I get up to pee. Possibly due to my extreme state of overtiredness, I cannot see myself properly in the bathroom mirror. I appear burbled, like how the outside world looks through sheets of water cascading down a car windshield. My eyes are hollow and sore, and although I've never been the splotchy kind, I am. I decide that with the 6:00 am alarm looming so near, I should honestly accept defeat but feel confident that the three-hour battle against anxiety was well-fought (I did not shoot anyone, scream at crows, or asphyxiate myself).

5:17 pm: I made it through my workday, was blessed with a ride home from work, and fell down onto the bed about a half-hour ago. I had this wild idea that I would just drop off into a death-like sleep until the Fiery One came home. I must stop this positive-thinking bit I've been trying, because it's obviously not working out for me. Me and my cynical self, who is beginning to believe that true sleep will elude us for years to come, are heading over to the drug store to shop for sleep aids. We like drugs.**

Wish me well, fair readers.

* There is a play on words in this sentence that I swear is entirely accidental. Honest.

** Notice how I made myself and my cynicism buddies who share in the same troubles and go shopping together for pharmaceuticals. Don't knock sleep aids until you've started separating like a broken puzzle and gone out shopping with a slightly bent middle piece.

Elan MorganComment