Thursday, April 17, 2008

Insomnia Is Not For Sissies

Okay, so once again it is midnight and my alarm clock is just sitting there on the nightstand, mocking me with its nasty little blinking LCD.

And once again I am lying awake, wondering if it's too late to go back to sleep, calculating how much time I have left to sleep if I can get back to sleep in the next ten minutes, and sending evil thoughts to my spousal equivalent who could sleep standing up if the need ever arose.

Sleeplessness is nothing new for me. Some of my earliest memories are of lying awake, tossing and turning and praying to pleasegodpleasegodpleasegod let me fall asleep, all the while remaining wide awake. In the course of those early years of insomnia, I tried to take the sage advice of my elders. My mother advised me to, "Close your eyes and think of Jesus."

Maybe the Jesus Thing would have worked if she hadn't been raised Catholic, and had a crucifix with Our Lord and Savior bleeding to death hung at the end of my bed. This did little to assuage the sleep demons, and in fact, incited guilt and fear and more reasons to lose sleep.

My grandmother used to tell me to close my eyes, then she would brush her calloused thumbs over my closed lids in a rhythmic, slow slide that often did send me off to la la land. Alas, these days I don't know anyone with calloused thumbs, aside from One Legged Bob (he holds up a sign at the corner of Braker and Mopac proclaiming his One Legged-ness). While I often give him a dollar on the way to work, inviting him to my home to rub my eyes would probably not be relaxing for either one of us.

I'm pretty sure this is not a condition that plagues only authors, although Sara Bird recently told me that she takes half an Ambien and falls right to sleep.

I think that's wonderful. But Ambien has been known to cause certain members of my family fall into a deep and peaceful sleep only to wake up naked in the rose bushes. Of course, that person also knocks the wonder drug back with Grand Marnier, but who's to say that that's what causes the Naked Thing?

Better to be safe than sorry--no Ambien. My little desperate housewife neighborhood couldn't handle that kind of pressure.

During these long moments of sleep-deprived dementia, I worry. I worry about the world peace, starving children, the new book I'm supposed to be writing, and the books I've already written, even though I know there is nothing I can do about them now. This thought pattern usually devolves into worrying about where I put my keys earlier, if I remembered to lock my drawer at work and the difference between infer and imply.

It is in these moments that flashes of brilliance befall me, and I jerk upright in bed to scribble them down before I forget. Of course, the night's Flash o' Brilliance is rarely as brilliant as I thought, and that's only if it's actually legible.

So now I have two more things to worry about tonight: The fact that I'm not as brilliant as I think I am, and now I have ink stains on my sheets.

Insomnia is not for sissies, but it is, apparently, for whiners.


Lexi said...

Glad to see you back on the blog circuit!

Kit Frazier said...

Hey girl! Glad you stopped b y!

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing
My friend Pantera with Tahoe & Me

Tahoe and a new friend at the signing