Thursday August 30. 2001
an on display collab : sleep

that which alludes me : a history of sleep

I never had any problem sleeping until I got to college.

I suppose this isn't an uncommon experience. You're whisked from the bed you've slept in for years, surrounded by the familiar sounds of your house and the people in it and crowded into a small concrete block with a person you barely know. She may or may not have a bad habit of stumbling into your room drunk at 3 am or deciding to have an bicoastal argument with her boyfriend via phone while you're trying to get some shut eye. This is compounded by the crappy mattress you lay on every night, a mattress that bows on the right side, which means that you have to shore yourself up with pillows on the opposite side just to keep from rolling off during the night.

This was pretty much my experience during my first year of college.

One would expect that, upon getting my own apartment, these problems would abate. And they did, with a vengeance. I would sleep for 16 hours at a time, turn off the alarm without remembering and then wake up groggy and disoriented many hours later and realize I had missed all of my classes for that day. How I managed to get a 3.5 for all of last year I will never know.

Sleeping with someone else in bed was also not all it's cracked up to be. From the way you see it in movies and television, you blissfully fall asleep in the loving arms of your mate. But in reality, you get hot, he hogs the covers, you hog the covers, there's an itch on your butt you absolutely must scratch now, and of course, the neverending dilemma of what to do with your extra arm. And when you wake up feeling all mushy and turn around to gaze deeply into your lover's eyes, his back is to you and he's snoring loudly.

Still, when you wake up in the wee hours and can't get back to sleep, it's nice to have someone to keep you company.

But this summer was The Summer of No Sleep. I gave up sleeping entirely on the very hot days, and tossed and turned miserably for 5 hours until the sun from my window became too bright to ignore. Even after I got an air conditioner, and dragged my comforter in the living room to sleep directly under its icy blast, I still slept restlessly. I would sleep any amount of time - 5 hours, 8 hours, 10 hours - and still feel incredibly crappy every morning.

I joined a small club of the walking dead this summer. It seems like everyone around me was having problems sleeping. Jury and I would show up at class at 9 and leave immediately for our coffee run. I could tell the days she hadn't slept, her eyes and eyebrows disappeared into her head, she looked pale and blank. She hadn't been able to sleep since her mother died, she told me. Peter couldn't sleep either, though I think his reason for insomnia was mass consumption of Yuengling and various illegal substances. But I had no concrete reason. no obvious excuse. I would wake up exhausted, drive to school, wander around and collapse on the couch for an hour. I would wake up and work until I crashed around 4 or 5.

I felt like I was slowly wilting.

Bedtime routine lately:

Lay down, turn on fan.

Read for ten minutes.

Turn off fan.

Read for twenty minutes.

Turn on fan.

Get up, wash face, brush teeth, take out contacts, or option b) too tired to get up, go to sleep with unwashed face, unbrushed teeth and contacts still in eyes.

Turn off fan.

Turn off light.

Covers on.

Lie on back.

Lie on side, spoon with pillow.

Lie on stomach.

Lie on side, hug stuffed animals.

Turn on light.

Stare at ceiling.

Kick off covers.

Turn on fan.

Rearrange covers.

Stare at clock.

Turn off light.

Curse yourself for drinking Pepsi.

Repeat the above several times before falling asleep.

One Year Ago:
"I really hate funerals."

Two Years Ago:
"I skipped all the pep rallies (hid out in the chorus room and played the piano), didn't go to any dances or football games, and going to the prom was one of the biggest wastes of time and money I've ever had."