Remembering Sleep

15 03 2008

So, there’s this thing exists called Sunday Scribblings. Have you heard of it? Actually, I assume if you’re here reading this, you’ve probably either informed me of Sunday Scribblings, or you’ve linked from there. Just in case you happened to just stumble upon this blog though, I’ll explain just a bit. Basically, from what I understand, Sunday Scribblings gives bloggers a prompt every Thursday. Participating bloggers then have until the following Sunday to make a post about the prompt. Cool, no?

My question to regular Scribblers: when you link to the appropriate post, do you tend to stay a while and look at previous posts? Do you always leave a comment? Do you usually become a regular reader of the blog? I know everyone does something different, but I’m trying to get a sense of the norm, so I don’t step on any toes, this being my first Scribble and all.

And what a first Scribble! This week, the prompt is “smorgasbord”. Kinda. See, the prompt is indeed “smorgasbord,” but the details are actually themselves a smorgasbord of a sort. What’s happened this week is that we are allowed to choose from all the other prompts over the history of Sunday Scribblings, as long as we don’t just copy and paste an old post. Since this is my first time, there’s no temptation for me to do so, and so the prompt that I’m choosing is “Sleep (and/or Teeth)”. I’m choosing the “sleep” part of the equation.

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So, they say when you get older, you need less sleep. When does that kick in? Because really, I remember a time when it was no problem to wake up at six in the morning. Sure I would grumble and moan, maybe hit the snooze once or twice, but I was never even once late for school. Never once. And I was a good student! So, this means I not only got up before the sun, but was awake enough to be attentive enough to listen and comprehend well enough to be “the smart kid”!

And on the weekends, or on days off, I literally could not sleep past the ten o’ clock hour. Some days I might wake up at nine, some days 10:55, but never into eleven o’ clock. It was impossible.

My sister and I had bunk beds, and I remember vividly waking up and lying in bed. I wondered if she was doing the same in the lower bunk. So, I would shift, not yet announcing officially that I was awake. Maybe she would shift then, too. And that’s when I would realize the error of my subtle plan. If my shifting left my state ambiguous, then her’s did the same. So, I would get a little more blunt: I’d shift and clear my throat in a grunt-y kind of way. Those, in case you don’t know, are totally sleep-affiliated noises. My sister, for her part, might reciprocate in kind, or she might just shift again with no noise connected. Ooooh, sneaky and crafty, that sister of mine. Finally, one or the other of us would pull out the big guns: we’d crack the knuckles of our toes. Yeah, it’s gross, whatever. Judge us if you will, but we knew what it meant. It was a code. A carrier pigeon from one bunk to the other: “You awake?” If the other one of us heard that, and cracked back, it stated clearly, “I am, thanks for asking.” Upon hearing the verification, the original craker would break the verbal silence of the day: “Good morning.” And the day had begun. Maybe she and I would argue, fight, hate each other by the end of the day, but in those moments between asleep and awake, it didn’t matter.

All that before eleven a.m. Invariably.

So, what happened? Maybe it was bed times. Those arbitrary limits set by parents who clearly just wanted to make our lives hell. I mean, what other reason could there have been? What do you mean, I have to be in bed by eight o’ clock? Don’t you know 90210 is about to start? This is so unfair! Then the next year, What do you mean, I have to go to bed at nine o’ clock? Don’t you know that 90210 just got over? I’m jazzed and excited! I mean, who will Dylan choose: Brenda or Kelly? How can I sleep at a time like this?! Then the next year, What do you mean I have to go to bed at ten o’ clock? Don’t you know there’s an hour of news followed by some late night talk shows that I don’t really care about? This is so unfair!

But those bed times were fair, you know? I mean, I actually used to take pride in not being able to sleep until eleven. I was proud that for the most part, I didn’t even need an alarm clock. On school days, the morning that I wasn’t awake moments before the alarm was rare. Those bed times helped make me a good student. In a sense, those bed times helped make me who I am today.

And who am I today? Well, today I’m a guy who is amazed when, just this morning, I dragged myself out of bed at 11:20. Amazed, because that’s about an hour earlier than usual. When I don’t need to be somewhere, or don’t need to do something, I tend not to. The alarm clock might go off at yesterday’s time because nobody re-set it, and I’ll just shut it off, roll over, and go back to sleep.

When I finally do get up, I’ll go to work if I have to, and don’t get me wrong, I’ll do a good job, but I won’t do much else. On days I don’t have to go to work, I’ll promise myself that I’ll work on the outline for that script I want to write, but usually I’ll just get lost on line, and then watch old Yes, Dear and Just Shoot Me! re-runs. I’ll lose entire days just like I seem to have lost my internal clock that would wake me up moments before the six o’ clock alarm.

So, when does it happen? This “adults needing less sleep” thing? I’m not saying I want to go back. I truly do love my life. I’m about to be married to an unbelievable woman. I know I’ll soon finish that script. One day, I’m sure I’ll be the successful working actor I’m destined to be, if for no other reason than pure stubbornness. I have aspirations, dreams yet to come true. I’m in a pretty good place, and I never forget that.

It’s just that, some days, when ten o’ clock a.m rolls around, I listen for shifting, throat-clearing, and knuckle-cracking.

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So, that’s my first Sunday Scribble. Was it okay that it wasn’t necessarily all about sleep, but rather inspired by the idea of sleep? Is that how this works? Please do leave a comment, feel free to look around and leave some more comments.

— ldi

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