The Big Think

November 9, 2005

Internet Craziness of the Day

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:17 am

The Blue Ball machine. Follow one of them.

Anyone Seen the Sandman?

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 1:00 am

…because he lost the map to our house.

(warning: whiny, self-pitying post. Be warned)

I’ve suffered with insomnia my entire life. Ever since I was young my standard night has been: go to bed, lie staring at the ceiling for an hour, shift around to find the cool spot, get up and walk through the dark house, sit at the window looking at the empty street (any wonder I like astronomy?), go back to bed, stare at that spot on the ceiling for another hour, gradually drift off in fits and starts. Repeat the following night.

Seriously, it’s amazing to me that the average person drops off in seven minutes. Seven minutes?!? What’s that like, folks? By seven minutes I’ve barely closed my eyes. If sleeplessness were an olympic sport I’d be a regular Bruce Jenner. But with a better haircut. Okay, maybe not.

I’ve decided that, for most people, going to sleep is like being hit by a bus. You’re just standing there in the metaphorical road minding your own business when all of a sudden *WHAM*. Dreamland. For me, sleep is like being slowly hunted by a wild beast. Except this beast doesn’t jump out of the bushes and have done with it. Oh no. He taunts me, he does. I’ll hear him out there in the dark stumbling around like an idiot. Yes, I think my personal Sleep Beast is old and incontinent and too addled to remember the hunt. Plus he drools. Sure, if he’s feeling a bit peckish and happens to wander across me sprawled helplessly and begging to be put down, he may sample a bite or two, but to get him to dig in with any commitment involves me slathering myself in A1 steak sauce and….

…see what lack of sleep does to my metaphors? And it started out so well. It’s no wonder so many of my bad posts are written after the Wolf Hour. I’m really a farely write gooder.

For some reason it’s been particularly bad lately. For the last week I’ve managed a few hours every night, and the only reason I’m not a complete head case is that my job doesn’t require that I get out of bed at any specific time. No, it’s not laziness, and I’m not a stereotypical musician, despite what family and friends believe. Just think how you’d feel the next day if I called you every forty five minutes all night. Oh, and there’s no snooze button when Mr. Biorhythms gives you a wake-up call mid-morning.

Last night it took me my standard 90 minutes to fall asleep. Anything less than an hour is very rare, and I can count on all my appendages the number of times in my life I’ve hit the “average” 7 minutes. When that happens I wake up the next morning in awe that the human body can actually do that. Weird.

Unfortunately, last night I only managed about 2 hours before I woke up, I spent the next hour staring at that spot in the ceiling (what is that, anyway?). Then I was out for an hour, awake for 45 minutes, and out for another two. True, I did get almost six hours, but they were separated by lots of ceiling staring. The worst part was that I was absolutely exhausted but I still couldn’t sleep. When I finally managed to drop off I had one of those dreams that feels really long while you’re dreaming it. What was I doing in my dream? Lying in bed unable to get to sleep. I kid you not. In my dream I finally managed to get to sleep, but I kept waking up every few hours and lying there staring at the ceiling. Yes, I was dreaming that I was having a bad insomnia night. I finally woke up for real sometime around 5AM. Imagine my relief.

I’ve tried prescription medication a couple of times, but I reserve those tiny pills for true I’ve-gotta-sleep-because-I’m-driving-to-Colorado-tomorrow emergencies, and even then I take a half-dose (a very tiny pill). I really don’t like the idea of introducing a pharmaceutical into my already addled grey matter. The relief isn’t worth it. I know those things are supposed to be non-habit-forming, but they still mess me up for several days, and I end up feeling drugged for a few hours the next morning. Besides, I don’t trust ’em. I can just hear it: “the FDA ordered Ambien to be pulled from shelves today because of widespread reports of Boneitis“. No thanks.

The biggest problem is the boredom. Here’s an exercise: go turn off all the lights, lay down on your couch. Get comfy. No radio, no tv, nothing. Set an alarm for two hours. Now stare at the wall. No breaks allowed. At the end of two hours, flip a coin. Heads, it’s a good night- you “fell asleep”. You can get up and you’re done. Tails, it’s a bad night- set the clock for another hour and keep staring.

Now do this every day for the next thirty years.

Oh look at that. I just glanced at the clock. 1 A.M. The night is young…

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