What follows is an account of what happens when I try to go to bed and wake up during what I am told are “normal human hours”.
I have to work at 9am, so I figure to myself, “aw, man, I will go to sleep before midnight so I can wake up at 6am and feel all rested and whatnot!” So I start my going-to-bed rituals and find myself settling in to sleep at around 1130pm. It even works, since I am pretty sure I am asleep by 1145.
But…then…in the midst of all that dark and quiet, my eyes pop open. At 230am.
I figure maybe my body thinks it needs to go to the restroom. So I do that. Or maybe I need a bit of water because my mouth is all dried out from sleeping with it open (I am a disgusting creature, unfortunately), so I do that, too.
Or maybe I am awake because my internal temperature feels as though it matches that of my temperament–I feel as though there is a veritable furnace alive inside my skin. So I throw off all the blankets and try to get comfortable and go back to sleep. But I can neither cool down nor feel comfortable.
So I grab my phone and check my email.
I check Facebook.
Nothing new since when I went to bed.
So I play a few rounds of Robot Unicorn Attack—-jump dash jump jump dash jump dash jump jump jump DEATH BY GIANT!—-and then try again.
Still wide awake.
Sooo…I pick up the book on my nightstand and read T.E.D. Klein’s story Black Man with A Horn, about vengeful Malayan deities and elderly New Yorkers. Not a bad story, though I personally don’t feel even the smallest sense of dread. And at any rate…I am still awake.
I turn out the light and lie back. And toss and turn. And run again through the story that has been molding and altering my mindframe, and in turn has been ever-revised by me for the last twelve years (and that, dear readers, is my biggest hunk of evidence for my theory that I am somewhat obsessive-compulsive. what other reason could I have for obsessing over the same morbid, depressing storyline every day of my life since my early teens?). But it doesn’t lull me asleep like it used to sometimes. So I lie awake and instead begin another obsessive mental exercise: mentally categorising my books based on shared themes or characters.
I start thinking about a short story I read and suddenly want very much to remember what book it was in because it is part of a larger world that has its own novel…so I think for a minute and get up and pick down the book in question and look at the author’s name and feel moderately excited that maybe I will read the novel eventually. But…wasn’t there a reason I hadn’t already done it? Probably…but…it relates to a current topic of interest for me, so I know I probably won’t be able to talk myself out of reading it or putting it on a list or something.
I try to stop thinking.
And I lie there in the dark, still feeling the fire under my skin although it is now after 4am and I would have imagined my body temperature would have leveled out by now.
It continues to boil.
So I get back up and fish my iPod out from under my uniform things. I listen to some more of my synth-pop and feel all twinkly inside. And I listen to my Viking-themed death metal and feel that ecstatic, underlying aggression that is so deeply embedded in my personality. And I get annoyed at some of the songs because they are at odds with my historical and mythological knowledge…but I forgive them.
I remember that my iPod has games on it.
I play Brick and beat all the levels. It is now 530.
I listen to music for another half hour, until my alarm goes off. Then I get up and shower and cook pasta because I have been thinking about spaghetti off and on for the last several hours, and it sounds like a good idea.
And I go to work. And have a moderately stressful day, but not so bad that I am in danger of getting genuinely angry. I even almost ask Alyssa if she wants to hang out sometime, but then I stop myself because, I mean, wtf am I doing? I am not a fun person to hang out with, and she and I don’t know each other all that well. It’s a weird feeling.
And I remember I need to get my brother a birthday present. A chewing antler for his dog. But…I have a coupon for command strips, so I go to the office supplies store first, and feel painfully sympathetic for the cashier, who is obviously brand-new, and whose shining eagerness to do a good job is being soiled and trampled by a really foul-tempered woman who keeps berating him and asking the air (since I am the only other person around and she is obviously not talking to me) “what is WRONG with this boy?”
If I weren’t such a courteous and upstanding specimen of humanity, she would have found herself flat on the ground, since she whirled around and would have slammed right into me in her rush to go FIND the manager, since the cashier was not calling one over quickly enough. But no worries. I wanted to “accidentally” knock her down, or feign surprise when she ordered me out of her way (or perhaps demanded to know who I thought I was, standing in her way like that), but I resisted because I was afraid of making the woman more irate and causing more of a problem for this new employee…
So he helped me while she was off searching for the manager. And he didn’t understand why my coupon wasn’t ringing in. But…I pointed out it was a manufacturer coupon and not a store one, and we figured it out. I told him I hoped he had better luck with the rest of his day and he seemed a to recover a bit of that new-employee shine.
Good deed for the day: accomplished.
And I bought my elk antler.
And I came home.
And I am physically exhausted…the kind of tired where my body is all unsteady and I have an overwhelming need to eat things to keep myself awake, and I feel every half hour like my bladder will explode, and my face starts to feel like something is applying a steady and unrelenting pressure…
But mentally, I am wide awake.
But…maybe I will sleep tonight?