At midnight, when my itches are itching exponentially and the big toe hurts loudly and I’m turning the pillow over to its cool side… the person I envy most in the world is the guy who gets to sleep the moment his head hits the pillow. I want that DNA. I’d give up my Melatonin, Valerian and Benadryl along with my mantra which has never worked anyway.
From early on we were told that normal people sleep eight hours a night. If this is an average they must have factored in the 17 hours a baby gets. Even pre-teenagers clock in eleven hours/night. Therefore I must be OK with my fractured four, ninety minute naps.
It takes me about a fidgety hour to review my entire life, all the dumb things I did, said or wrote. (There’s a fresh batch every night). Then I set aside time to consider a litany of what ifs. Peggy calls it worry but I call cautious, contingent creativity. I might then remember some phone call I need to make in the morning or a light bulb or shoe lace that needs replacing or food to defrost or dry cleaning to pick up or blog to write…such as this.
I might even think of a song whose melody gets stuck in my head and won’t budge. With a little luck I can ride the tune into oblivion but just then the upstairs neighbor closes his window with a slam or someone in the street just outside our window starts talking on his cell phone. I require silence. My favorite line from On the Waterfront is Marlon Brando saying to Eva Marie Saint that he can’t move to the country because the crickets make him nervous.
I read an article that tells me I could be one of those old folks who favored segmented sleep. In fact up until the Industrial Revolution most people had first sleep of four hours, then up for an hour or two followed by second sleep. In the middle of the night prayers were recited, plots hatched and babies conceived. Imagine meeting someone for breakfast at 3 AM. You’d probably have to find a truck stop.
Lately Donald Trump, damn him, has invaded my sleep. I’ve been dreaming of rouged clowns, schoolyard bullies and walls. I wonder if a Trump sleep counts as restorative of brain cells or if it contaminates them. Last night I dreamed I was being smothered between a stack of his red caps and a pile of orange straw. When I woke up I discovered my face had slipped under the pillow.
Speaking of which several questions remain unanswered. Was it really necessary to spend approximately 28 years of my life asleep and why is the cool side of the pillow underneath? Something to ponder at midnight.