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Almost Asleep

March, 2006

My wife woke me up last night.

This is annoying, not only because it's about the third time that this has happened, but also because it means that A) I didn't get to sleep until three hours later than I'd originally intended; and B) I was going to bed early so I could get up early and write. Feh. Didn't happen.

Yesterday was, otherwise, a good day. We went to Taiji class in the morning, ate lunch at a new Thai food restaurant near our house, and spent the afternoon with some friends at Irish fest, cruising the vendors' booths and listening to the music and (of course) drinking the beer. We came home, had dinner, and watched Serenity. I decided that I wasn't going to get any writing done last night, so I started making arrangements to go to bed. (We've both been kind of sick for most of February, so getting enough sleep isn't just an indulgence; it's something of a medical necessity.) Brush teeth, take allergy meds, change into sleeping clothes, set the alarm. Then (error of errors) I went and told my wife that I was going to sleep.

She had a toothbrush in her mouth while she was typing, but she managed to communicate (mostly by gesture) that she was coming to bed too, and that she'd be there in about two minutes. I nodded and said something along the lines of, "Right. Ten o'clock, then." It was about nine o'clock at the time; but BW* was looking at a message board, and she tends to lose track of time when she does that. Light-hearted banter and threats of tickling ensued, along with protestations of her sincere desire to come to bed soon.

I finished setting up the bedroom. Owing to our allergies and the need to drown out whatever noise the cats might be making, we sleep with a fan, an air purifier, and (recently) a vaporizer all going at once. I left the door open and the light on in the hallway, to make it easier for my wife when she did finally come to bed. Then I crawled under the covers, pulled a sleep mask over my eyes, and started to drift off.

Part of the process of going to sleep (for me, at least) involves a sort of auto-hypnotic  visualization stage. It's not quite like dreaming, since it's usually more coherent. Also, it tends to relate more directly to things that I've been doing or thinking or reading during the course of the day. While this is going on, my body goes about the business of shutting down: slowing my breathing, lowering my temperature, and turning off the connections to the body (so that when, for example, I dream of running, my legs don't try to move too much).

So when BW came into the room and asked if she could turn the overhead light back on so she could set her alarm, I was right on the edge of sleep. I managed to answer her (the light wouldn't make much difference since I had the sleep mask on) without snapping too far out of my trance. The light was noticeable (it's not a good quality sleep mask), but I could sleep through it. So I kept my eyes closed and tried to find that place where I was drifting off to sleep again. My wife finished whatever she was doing and climbed into bed... and then, apparently still in light-hearted banter mode, she made some comment about my stealing all the covers and thus yanked me awake again.

I said, "Oh, for fuck's sake,"  and sat up. I twitched the covers back and yanked them up so they'd cover her side of the bed. Then I grabbed a sleeping bag off the floor, pulled it over myself, and utterly failed to go back to sleep. Apparently, if you catch me right in that little window when I'm going to sleep but haven't actually gotten there yet, my body sends a little bolt of adrenaline through my system (to reverse the effects of whatever chemical processes are involved in getting the flesh ready to sleep, I guess). So not only am I awake again, but I've gotten just close enough (to sleeping) to take the edge of my tiredness. On top of that, I'm angry - partly from the adrenaline, and partly from knowing that I'm not going to be able to get to sleep any time soon - which is not a restful state of mind under the best of circumstances.

This is not the best of circumstances.

So instead of going to bed at nine o'clock and waking up an hour earlier than usual to get some writing done, I went to bed at midnight and didn't get any writing done at all. Instead of feeling bright and rested in the morning, I woke up feeling slow and stupid and semiconscious. Instead of waking up an hour early, I woke up with about fifteen minutes to spare and left for work without A) a shower, or B) my usual cup of morning tea.

There ought to be some sort of light-hearted note I could wrap this up on - it's practice for the baby who's due in July, or somesuch - but I can't seem to find one. There's just me, at work, feeling grumpy... all day. Probably means I'll cut Kung Fu short again tonight, which is also irritating. And finishing up the next chapter, which requires no more than half a page, has been postponed indefinitely - for a couple of days at least.

Would it be that hard to just climb into bed, lie still, and go to sleep... without saying anything?


*BW stands for Beautiful Woman. It may not be my wife's legal name, but it is nevertheless the correct form of address.