To Sleep Perchance to Snore
By ice rivers
To begin with, I spend more time thinking about sleeping than I spend time thinking about any other subject.
Some people might call that process insomnia.
I call it another skirmish in the war between the sexes.
Snoring is the battle line.
The only person who doesn't snore is the person who's awake. I am that person, awake and listening to my wife snore.
The secret is to be the second one to sleep.
My wife doesn't think that she snores.
I didn't think that I snored until my wife mentioned it to me.
Over time, the mentions grew more frequent and less gentle.
Eventually, the mentions turned into motions and the motions turned into pokes and jabs.
Ya know what really sucks? Being fast asleep....getting jabbed into wakefullness and upon awakening hearing this:
"Stop snoring, God damn it."
Apparently I start to snore when I'm first falling asleep so when rudely interrupted my defense usually goes like this:
"How could I be snoring, I wasn't even asleep"
Even as I'm saying this, I'm coming to the realization that I must have been asleep because the poke woke me up.
"Well, you must have been asleep because you're snoring your ass off. Stop the goddamned snoring!."
"Hey, I know the difference between being awake and being asleep. If I were asleep now, this would be a nightmare but because I'm awake, it's just a pain in the ass."
"Yeah, well the next time you snore and wake me up, you're going out to the couch."
For some reason, the reward of sleeping comfortably on the couch seems like some kind of punishment that must be resisted.
So I try to fall back asleep and realize that I can't sleep. Furthermore, I must really be not sleeping because nobody is telling me to stop snoring.
Meanwhile, in this embryonic, insomniatic state.....my wife falls asleep and starts to snore.
Her snoring is a good sign because that means she's actually asleep and it is now safe for me to go to sleep and not have to worry about snoring.
So I go through my usual thinking about sleeping and trying to figure out how to bring it on.
Most of those methods are unclear to me now because instead of trying to fall asleep, I'm currently trying to stay awake but here are a couple of techniques that I think I use.
!) I recite and re-recite the Presidents of the United States in chronological order and then in reverse order. Madison always surprises me with how quickly he shows up chronologically and Rutherford B. Hayes surprises me with how clearly he arrives at all.
The surprise and the clarity continue through the entire series of repetitions and I find them oddly reassuring.
2) I try to think of people who I know who couldn't possibly have been thinking of me during this day. Then I think of the people that I always think of and try to estimate how many times I thought about them during the day. I've been told that we have 8 or 80 or 800 billion brain cells. I can't remember what the figure is (8 billion or 800 billion...what's the diff?) That's plenty of room to think about people.
I'm talking about brain cells popping off in nano seconds. I would guess that I think of my daughter about 20,000 times a day. All the way down to the guy who was sitting on the sidewalk in Charlotte a couple of days ago....playing his guitar real good for free. I thought of him maybe 5 times today and pretty soon he will be in the memory cemetery only to be exhumed for a thousdandth of a second some night when I'm unable to sleep and am absolutely sure that he has not thought of me which, I'm pretty sure is and always will be the case.
3) If I'm still awake, I start thinking about stories that I might write. This very story is a story I was thinking about writing last night shortly after I finished thinking about a guy who punched me in the mouth fifty years ago.
By this time, it's usually about four in the morning. I've changed my position in bed at least five times and I'm starting to forget about the pain in my shoulder and then I start to catch a dream and run with it and lose it and re=catch it until I reluctantly wake up in an empty bed. My wife always gets up, a couple hours before me almost exactly at the moment that I start to get control of whatever deam I'm enjoying at the moment.
Usually, I "sleep" for maybe four hours a night.
I come to the kitchen as the daily routine begins and ask my wife how she slept last night.
She says "Fine. How bout you. You didn't snore."