Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fighting Sleep

It's a battlefield out there, folks, and I'm a warrior-worthy sleep fighter.  Apparently, even as a baby, I spent more time screaming than I did sleeping.  This is no longer true today: I spend a lot more time sleeping than I do screaming, at least twice as much.

That being said, I do not remember ever having had a nap.  I do not plop my head down on a pillow and fall asleep.  I do not think, "Oh, it's a lazy Saturday afternoon; why don't I snuggle up for a nap?"  Instead, I think, "Why not look into PhD programs or launch an Internet business?" because I have so much extra time, given the fact that I choose not to sleep whenever possible.

Here in Hong Kong most people take public transportation.  You're either texting or playing games on your phone or you are sleeping.  Those seem to be the only three choices.  I'm guessing it's the same everywhere else in the world except maybe a nation where there are more chickens than there are phones on the bus.  I regularly watch people sleep through their stops and more than once I've had to wipe the drool off of my clothes from an adjacent sleeper.  Hong Kong is such a crowded place that people even manage to sleep standing up!  I am in awe of these people since I can be drowning in a cloud of eiderdown and silk and still be wide awake.

On an overnight train in Thailand - Em's first bunk bed!

I also have no memory of ever fading off to sleep during a movie or TV show or even while reading a book.  I simply do not, will not, allow myself to do that.  I will read or crossword or watch until the last bitter moment and then, when I can fight no longer, I will finally succumb and turn off the lights, always reluctantly

It's not that I can't sleep.  I can.  It's just that I won't.  You see, my day life is a fair bit more enjoyable than my night life.  My night life is full of petulant dreams that are populated by students I can't control, me in various states of undress (and not in good places or circumstances) and me initiating breakup after breakup with an ex that I should have done, but never had the courage to.  It's quite satisfying, but after you've done it for the 10,000th time, you have to ask yourself, "Have I not learned my life lesson yet?"  Jung and Freud notwithstanding, it's just plain annoying.

In most of my dreams, I am looking down on myself while I dream and thinking, "Oh, no, not this nonsense again."  Yes, I am one of those dreamers who watches myself dream.  If you've not experienced this, you're lucky.  In the majority of my dreams, I watch myself enacting incredulous and stupid scenarios as if I am in a movie theater.  The only problems are: there is no popcorn and I can't get up and leave if I don't like the show.  I just go on dreaming and thinking, "When is this finally going to end?  I want a refund!"

I may be one of the only people on the planet who can't wait to get up in the morning AND who hates going to bed.  When I DO have the opportunity to sleep in, I often don't take it because I assume it will only commence in another round of ridiculous dreams.

The girls find it hard to settle down on our overnight train trips

I've had quite a few recurring dreams over the years, in particular about celebrities.  Tom and Nicole figured prominently in the 90s; we were neighbors in suburbia and did a lot of things to together as a couple: double dating, potlucks, card games, and croquet with their other movie star friends.  When their marriage ended, so did the dreams.  I miss Tom and Nicole, but Tom probably would have tried to lure me into Scientology so it's just as well that we're kaput.

I also have my yearly Sylvester Stallone erotic dream which I cannot explain and will not attempt to.  I do not find him in the least bit alluring in my waking life, so I have no idea why we have a yearly tryst in my dreams.

I come from a long line of dreamers.  Each morning, my mother would regale us with stories of her dreams while we scarfed down our steaming bowls of porridge and brown sugar.  Like her, I can talk about one dream for upwards of half an hour.  I remember every single intricate detail.  And let me tell you, folks, it's a curse.  I've got enough on my plate in my waking life without being able to describe the Frito chicken casserole recipe that I concocted in my dream or the multitude of swatches I investigated before settling on the pink paisley brocade for the new curtains in my drawing room.

Mommy would rather stay up and look out the window

The first time I ever took a sleeping tablet it worked incredibly well, but I woke up and found I had become friends with my old piano teacher on facebook, I had ordered a subliminal sleep audio on itunes and the fridge had been raided. Now I rarely succumb to the lure of sleep aids, but if I do, I turn it into a competition.  "I'll be damned, " I tell that jagged little pill, "if I am going to let you put me to sleep.  I will fight you and I will WIN!"  And sometimes I do. It's shocking, really.

I'll pretty much do anything to avoid sleep.  Just this evening, I asked my sweetheart to bring up a Diet Coke with my popcorn at about 10:00 pm.  Foolish?  Of course.  But why sleep when you can stay up and do something infinitely more enjoyable like watch multiple episodes of Downton Abbey or finish the new 1000 piece puzzle whose pieces are all the same color?

I would say I definitely do NOT get enough sleep, and I definitely do NEED to get more, but I think I need counseling to get myself on track with this particular issue.  I've spent a life time of fighting it and I don't want to give it up now at 1:00 in the morning when there is still more to be done.  There are only so many hours in the day, you know...

These gals occasionally fight their sleep as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment