Thursday, October 14, 2004

Laying, in my bed, thinking...

Ever feel like you are settling in to adulthood, much too fast? As if, perhaps, going to bed before 2am, sober, in your own bed, on a Wednesday night is still a bit too “adult” an activity for you? Shit, I know I feel that way. I did last night as I was desperately trying to force myself to sleep at midnight.

You see: I, like most I know, am a night person (Ava is definitely a night person). Waking up before 10am requires bright sunlight (on de face en in de eye), and the loudest alarm clock available in western markets (set for 7:30am, and it goes off for two hours, until I finally get the fuck up) – I think mine has a subwoofer. I do not perform well in the morning. Never have. And I don’t intend to make an honest go of it any time soon. But, I have a job which requires me to be “available for bothering” before 9am. This is problematic for me, and for my employer.

I am notoriously late for said job. And they have started to take notice. So, I am trying to get my sorry ass in there on time, just to smooth out the only relationship in my life which pays me money. Those I owe prefer I make money to pay them. I prefer to keep those I owe from breaking into my crib while I sleep to covet all my favorite belongings, which might include my most useful limbs. Don’t fuck with Home Depot Credit. They have sharp power tools, and a small army of developmentally disabled cart-gatherers who could easily serve as “collectors”. Armed with those power tools.

I am so going to hell for that. Hate if you want.

Work bullshit aside, I NEEDED to get up on time this morning. So, at 1am, I was hopelessly staring at my shadowed ceiling and feeling stupid for trying to sleep when I was not tired… and got to thinking (damn you brain!).

What if my twenty year-old self were to give an interview with my thirty year-old self? Not that I am a grand person now, but I was… difficult, to put it mildly, when I was twenty: fiercely independent and irreversibly sure of myself in every way. I have since learned to be humble, sometimes. I have not decided whether being humble is beneficial or not. But I don’t think the two of me would get along very well. Yes, that might be interesting…

20: So. Craig. You’re thirty now.
30: Yup. You aren’t yet. And you made me a smoker you little fucker.
20: Whatever gramps. I’m doing the interview here so smoke a dick and speak only after spoken to. Think you can handle that?
30: I forgot how little I liked me when I was you.
20: Nice. Keep it up and I won’t help you empty your colostomy bag.
30: Christ. Cocky little shit. You got any questions for me or what?
20: Right. Questions. Just for the record, I’d like to say this is really gay, and I don’t see the point of this exercise.
30: God, it is just like me, back then, to say some nay-say bullshit like that. Just read the fucking questions junior.
20: Alright, alright. First off, what is up with the full fucking beard? You livin’ in the woods or some shit? Eh, Grizzly Adams? Gone Muslim or some shit?
30: I’m lazier nowadays. What’s with that chin-strap of a beard-line you’re sporting there? Think you’re black? LL Cool Craig or some shit? HA! Ha! Ha… Oh wait, I liked that look. Damnit, me. Errr…
20: So, are you gay now or what?
30: No. Wouldn’t you be gay if I were?
20: No. My pants don’t “fit” like yours do.
30: What the hell is that supposed to mean? That doesn’t even make sense. I forgot how often you say the word "gay". How annoying.
20: You were me, so you know what I am saying. Stop with the questions, you’re fucking this all up. You stay home on some Fridays, do you not?
30: Sure. Sometimes a brutha just doesn’t feel like staying out all night. Sometimes I’d rather read, write, or do my fucking taxes. Sometimes I mow the goddamn lawn instead of drinking myself stupid! Sometimes, sometimes goddamnit, I am just… plain… tired. And I would rather sleep… I guess.
20: A little defensive on that one. You need to calm down. Bring your meds, Old Man River?
30: I knew you would say that.
20: Your girlfriend is fine. Why did you wait so damn long to catch that?
30: You. I blame you. You are incapable of impressing such a woman. That’s why.
20: Good answer. Asshole. Now what is a typical Wednesday night like for you nowadays? Hitting the drinking holes? Breaking into houses? Nightlife in Rio De Janeiro? Hustling pool games or what?
30: Staring at my ceiling, trying to force myself to sleep, to help me get up on time, so that I am not late for a third day in a row, thereby helping maintain an office job that would bore the hell out of cactus plant.
20: Serious? Hmmm… Do we really need to get older for that? I mean, I could do that shit now, if I wanted.
30: Good point. But I make a-lot more money than you would. Plus, you’re a dick. Hustling is all you’re really cut out for right now.
20: You were a dick. I would say you haven’t gotten very far. I bet you’re hustling now.
30: If I were hustling, would I be stressing over whether or not I would be able to cart my lazy ass into an air-conditioned job before 9am?
20: If that were my hustle, then that’s what I’d want everyone else to think. You know, that I cared and shit. Bored cactus? Fuck man, there’d have to be an angle. I'm starting to think you fucked me all up.
30: I knew I’d say that. Now shut up. This interview is officially over. I’m trying to sleep over here… cocky fucker. Damned… cactus.


Anonymous said...

Trust me. I'm an expert.

Never, ever, worry about not being able to fall asleep. It just makes things worse as you become anxious about each minute ticking by. Instead, just accept the fact that your body doesn't need sleep. That's right. Get up and watch TV or surf the Internet. The key is not sleeping on time, but rather waking up on time. Even if you fall asleep at 5:00 in the morning, you can still function on 2 hours of sleep. I'm sure that you've had to do it before. And after depriving yourself of sleep from the previous night, you will not have so much trouble sleeping the next time. Just don't nap. Naps are for babies.

If you absolutely must get up in the morning, you should always set two alarm clocks so that they go off minutes apart. Make sure that one alarm clock is somewhere where you will actually need to walk to reach. Walking will guarantee that you do not fall back asleep. It is easier to wake up if you're sleeping alone. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe a person's motivation is shot when the other person in bed is still tucked in, all snug and warm and drowsy. It just isn't fair to have to be the first to get up.

Saying "time to make the donuts" repeatedly to myself in the morning suprisingly helps wake me up, but your mileage may vary.

You can offset the impression that you often arrive at work late by randomly showing up super early at work every now and then, even if you have no reason for doing so. This is an especially good tactic if your office uses lots of emails for communication. Nothing makes an impression like emails at 6:30 in the morning. Even if you do not come in early as much as you come in late, and I have found that you have a lot of leeway with this, you can become the "guy that comes in at irregular times", and not the "guy that comes in late all of the time".

Truecraig said...

All taken under careful advisement, Anonymous. However, I do not have television or internet at my crib, so there's no "easy" form of mindless entertainment for me to busy myself with when I cannot fall asleep. Next, I already have two alarms. I shall try moving the clock far, far away (I could put it in my neighbor's window, forcing him to come wake me, but that might hurt).

I am already considered the "weird hour" guy, in that whenever Ava visits, she leaves at ungodly hours of the morning, thereby forcing me to show up at work before ANYONE else. Being manic about the timeclock won't excuse tardiness though...

I need to care more. That would certainly help.

Anonymous said...

Until you care more or find something to care about, I highly recommend Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I think that you would really appreciate her style. Books are handy when TV and Internet are unavailable.

The thing about two alarm clocks, by the way, is to set them only minutes apart, so that the first one wakes you and the second one sounds before you can fully fall back asleep.

Truecraig said...

Yes. Agreed on the alarm-timing-scheme. I have them four minutes apart. But I need to put some walking distance in there.

Sidenote: You are the most tenacious Anonymous commentor I have ever been entertained by.

On the "caring" thing: I care a great deal about many things. Unfortunately, my current 9-5 is not one of them. I will change that though. One way, or another. No sweat. My twenty year-old self deserves better.

Lisa said...

I can easily sleep through 3 or 4 alarms and not even remember them going off. Try using the alarms on your cell phone. I can set 3 on the phone alone. The best part, however, is that you can have them ring using those unbelievably annoying ring tones that I hate so much - and you can have them blare. I find them so disturbing that, if I don't sleep through them, I have them off within the first bar. One plays Stars & Stripes and one's this really annoying digitized jazz sax piece. The key, however, is definitely not keeping the phone in bed with you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Insomniac,
I had a really really bad bout of insomnia back in the day and I gave my meds (sedatives)to my parents because I felt it was becoming a nasty habit (I know a lot of addicts would never admit that). It was either that or end up in some unfamiler cold room, shivering and sweating to get the monkey off my back.
Anywaaaaayyy so one night like yours the aggrevation gave me an idea! Bling!!! I drink too (maybe not like yourself) but my idea was to drink a beverage I normally stay away from when out socializing. White wine. YaK! I don't know why? but I've been known to hang with the BIG DOGS (shots and all yo) but you put this weenie drink in front of me and I shreik like garlic to Dracula! buaxahahaha Shamelessly within minutes of touching my lips I get a headache, then the thin to none rationalization skills kick in and I tell myself "have another you'll be too drunk to notice the headache" Soon enough I wake up and I'm home. Never a recalling the evening.
So there it is. Find the drink that is absolutely the pits and knocks you off your ass,Come on everyone has one, a sippy of tequila or jager 20 minutes to 1hr from the time you need to be asleep at the least this should relax you. Topping it off with the Read you always wanted to finish but can never make it past 1st page or do a crossword puzzle **YAWN** that should lull you to sleep. It worked for me. Sooner than I knew it I was on a routine days later, sans the drink, I was asleep before I could see the weather report on the 10 O'clock news. Hope this helped.

Gahhh look at the time. GuNite.
Pssst... a long (drink fest)wkend can ruin such attainment too.

Truecraig said...

I sooooo hear you: monkey on the back = pain in the ass. Books are a great direct-line to the Sandman's crib, and he always answers when I contact him that way. But I have run out of books to read. I need more literature. This is a problem I have never had. Ever.

Jager is what practically KILLED me last night. I do not believe there is drink out there that would be an effective sleep-aid for me. Problem being: I can never really drink just one shot. Typically, I'll end up in a drunken coma rather than a pleasant slumber. I wake up from hours of non-sleep. Not so nice.

I might try the crossword puzzle thing though. Ava likes the word-find games...