Friday, November 17, 2017


There is no word for it. Those long moments when you are not quite asleep but not awake either. The clock says 2:14 and the next time you peek it is 2:57 and then 3:41 yet you could swear only five minutes have passed. I’ve been told whatever you do, never look at the clock. Therefore I do.

On the board game of sleep you are stuck at Yawns. And that was hours ago. The next station is Snores or at least a snort and chortle. You’re waiting for Uber to take you to Dreamsville. But instead your arm itches. Your leg twitches. You’re hot. You’re cold. A car alarm goes off four blocks away. Did you forget to take the clothes out of the dryer? There goes a motorcycle revving its engine.

Now you are traveling back to 1943 when your friends would look up at the sky and say B-52 or Lockheed P-38; how they could identify airplanes or cars by the grill or talk about carburetors…….and you knew not a thing nor cared a hoot about any of this. But why dwell on that in the middle of the night?

Dreams are a collage of debris, shards of broken pots or pot holes as if floating in inner space. Unresolved moments. Fears materialized. Where did I park my car? Will I miss my flight? Here is my father turned into Spencer Tracy who becomes Barack Obama. And then there’s the mystery of why the cool side of the pillow is the one facing down.

There is no predicting a night’s sleep. Some nights are seamless with dreams of exotic flowers strewn around on a path of rolling hills like the belly of a giggling Buddha. Other nights feel endless punctuated by a restless bladder and dreams of a besieged pharmacist in a flu epidemic with screaming babies, six phones ringing and a broken keyboard.

It’s a bone-brain thing. Those hours in the nether world of half-sleep seem to be a misalignment. The body is bone-weary but the brain thinks it is 2 P.M. instead of A.M. Eyes close but synapses are buzzing. Peggy uses Azerbaijan as a mantra. I wish some word would transport me to a third world country even if I’d be looking for my parked car.

It is now 4:03; too late to reach for a Melatonin, too early to rise. I’ll just stay put reviewing my entire life starting with carburetors, manifolds, fly wheels and gaskets…all those strange words which already are putting me to sleep. Here I am drifting off. But not quite.

I had a breakthrough dream last month. I suddenly discovered myself sitting in the car that I was looking for. I think I was in the back seat. Uber me home.

P.S. I have now been told that there is a word for that half-waking, half sleeping consciousness. It's called a hypnagogic state. I learn something every day and if I hadn't written this down I'd have forgotten by now.


  1. Hilarious, witty and oh so resonating with me. One of your best entries...

  2. Thank you, my friend. Maybe we could meet at 3 A.M. at some all-night laundromat.