It's 3:39am, and I am laying here in bed, thinking about sleep. Not actually experiencing it, mind you, but thinking about it. Sleep and I have a very particular relationship. Very coy. Very timid. Very, very frustrating.
All this is exasperated, of course, by Tony's relationship with sleep. He and Morpheus happen to be BFF, and the god of dreams will never leave him waiting. As a matter of fact, Tony can take a running leap from the door of our bedroom and be asleep by the time he lands on the bed. And as someone who is often left standing behind the velvet rope for hours, jealously watching him bypass the bouncer and waltz right into dreamland's door is maddening.
And so, with sleep playing hard to get, there is no choice for me but to be the pursuer. Oh how we battle nightly in this game of cat and mouse! I stealthily stalk my prey across one end of the bed and back, pretending indifference by reading or watching TV until I'm close enough to pounce. I attack! Sleep leaps to the left! I follow! Sleep feints to the right! We circle, closer and closer, until I lunge and am maybe able to get a restraining arm or two around sleep before, cackling, it fades into ephemeral wisps and slips through my fingers, leaving me both awake and exhausted at the same time.
I hear you out there. You wonder why I don't just take an Ambien or something and be done with it. It's not that I can't sleep-I'm actually very good at it once I get going; it's more that I can't do it during the same hours as everyone else. Sleep, for me, is like catching a cold...it's slow to find me, but also slow to let go once it does. 3am to 11am seem to be my golden hours. Besides, the pills don't really work for me. I lay awake all night waiting for the glow-in-the-dark butterflies to come, but in the end I just ended up trapped in an uncomfortable imitation sleep. If sleep is the prettiest girl in school, a chemical induced temporary coma is its ugly cousin. Related maybe, but a poor substitute.
All this would be a sad tale indeed if it wasn't for the fact that Morpheus always feels bad about his teasing and eventually grants me entrance into his dream kingdom. I dream richly and easily, and the entertainment of my own sub-conscious makes it worth the wait to get here. Such lovely stories! Such engaging plot lines! I tend to narrate them as I go along, and I often think that if I could just manage to hold on to them long enough to get them down on paper, I'd be a best-selling author. (Alas, I can never seem to carry them back through the door to consciousness. They float away before I can fully manage to get my eyes open. I wonder if they are really as entertaining as I think they are, or if they'd just sound stupid to anyone else. I'm guessing stupid, which is why they shy away as soon as I try to hold onto them. Your loss, literary world).
Of course, I do not look at it as me going to sleep too late...I look at it as the rest of you getting up too early. There'd be no problem at all if all the schools and businesses opened at 10am instead. Admit it-wouldn't you enjoy being able to sleep in an extra few hours? Wouldn't it be nice to have a little more time between eating dinner and going to bed? You know it would. I'm totally onto something here. Tell your boss. Write your congressman. There are those of us who struggle mightily with turning our brains off for the night, and we need the extra time to recoup in the mornings.
Plus it'll give you much better dreams.