Thursday, February 26, 2009
Funny—I’ve been seeing this posted at several blogs over the past few days, and lo and behold, I get tagged by a friend. I didn’t even know what a meme was until I looked it up. How about that? I’m always learnin’! Well, at any rate, I’ll play along because today I lack the energy to write a whole new blog post.
1) How do you sleep at night?
Is your sleep affected by the national angst? Do you drop off easily, as you always did? Or does it take a while to get to sleep?
It all depends. I must say that national issues don’t really affect my sleep—only my waking hours. The day before yesterday I saw a man standing at a street corner holding a cardboard sign that read Homeless and Hu- (I couldn’t read the rest because of a fold in the board, but I assume it was either hungry or hurt). Across the road was a Wal-Mart, and on the other side was a hotel boasting of brand-new 37” plasma TV’s. The juxtaposition would have been humorous if it wasn’t so damn sad. I felt terrible for the poor fellow (though notice I didn’t do anything to help him—granted, what could I do?) but I drove on when the light changed and soon forgot. Out of sight, out of mind. My family isn’t too horribly affected just yet by “national issues,” and while there are some personal issues that are bothering me, they aren’t noticeably affecting my ability to fall asleep. I stay up so late working on homework or browsing the Internet that by the time I go to bed, I’m exhausted and quickly drift off.
2) What strategies, if needed, do you use to get to sleep? Pills? Sheep? Late night television shows? And/or...?
I’ve been keeping myself very tired lately because of my school schedule. I’m always on the verge of falling asleep, anyway, so nighttime is a blessed reprieve from the busy day. My evening routine consists of working on the computer until a late hour, then showering and stumbling bleary-eyed down the hall to my bedroom. I’ve recently started a quick exercise routine (stretches, push-ups, and crunches) to try to work off a few of those winter pounds, and that succeeds in wearing me out further. Sometimes I’ll go outside and stare blindly, sans glasses at the front yard and distant lights of Springfield, listening to the cattle lowing, the wind blowing, or spring peepers, well, peeping. If I lay in bed for a while and still haven’t fallen asleep (and if my schedule has been disrupted for whatever reason, this can take as long as an hour or two), I’ll get up and get a drink of water. That usually works.
Over the summer, I was on a very strange schedule. I’d often stay up to two or three in the morning, then sleep until ten. My parents would go to bed long before I would, so I’d have to be quiet so as not to wake them up. I’ll usually just waste time on the Internet, but some dark hot nights (mornings?) I’d sneak outside and run through the heavy fragrant pasture until I found the black horses against the black ground and black sky. This was just after Rebel had been diagnosed with navicular, and I’d grab his stiff, sweaty neck and bury my face in the old horse's wavy mane. Other times I’d hop on a still-healthy Shorty’s back and ride him completely saddle- and bridle-less to join the herd. Then I’d slink back inside and drop into bed, sick from the heavy scent of cut grass fermenting.
3. Do you wake up in the middle of the night, plagued by obsessive thoughts?
I’m a really deep sleeper, for the most part. On occasion, however, I will wake up with an obsessive thought—but it’s almost unfailingly something ridiculously stupid. A few weeks ago I woke up in an absolute frenzy because I realized that I had made a small typo in a paper that I had not turned in yet. Yeah. Somehow sleep magnified this into a life-altering catastrophe. Perhaps this is a sign that my life is too easy, if I’m so easily upset by stupid, little things.
4) What strategies do you have to get back to sleep?
Once I’ve been asleep, it’s usually not too hard for me to roll back over and resume unconsciousness. If I’ve gotten up in the meantime, though, it’s difficult. This past autumn I had to wake up to turn the horses in at five in the morning while my dad was on a trip overseas. After I had been outside working in the barn, I found it next to impossible to go back to bed, so I’d stay up working horses or doing homework until it was time to leave for school. On other days, if I wake up before my alarm goes off and happen to look at the clock and see that it’s less than an hour until I have to get up for real, I’ll be so worried about my alarm that I won’t be able to sleep at all. I’ll keep waking up at five or ten minute intervals and checking the time. Paranoid, maybe. If I can ever clear my mind, I’ll fall back asleep.
5) Are your dreams affected? Are they more anxious than before? Do they wake you up in a sweat? Or are they peaceful, innocent, undisturbed by the general malaise?
I don’t exactly buy into all that dream-theory mumbo-jumbo, but I’m quite convinced that events/problems/worries/experiences in my life are very much affecting my dreams. I usually don’t remember my dreams, but about twice a month I’ll have a very vibrant, exciting, scary, funny, or interesting one. Oddly enough, shortly before Shorty’s fever flare-up and cancer diagnosis, I had a dream that all of the cattle down the road were dropping stone dead. I was watching a wave of death move towards my house—you could see it coming. (Anyone seen the movie The Happening? It was just like that.) It made it to my pasture, and sure enough, my horses started to collapse. It was awful. I think that one was triggered by the dead cow I passed on the way home. It lay there for a few weeks, just off the road and covered in ice and snow, before the owner finally did something with the carcass. Sad and gross.
The other night I had a dream inspired by the campus-safety active shooter drill, which I heard about but was not present for. This one was just absurd. We were locked in a library, hiding beneath tables and bookshelves. I was lying on the floor next to a guy, and we were talking about how pointless the drill was. Then before my eyes he turned into an overweight woman. Yep. Try explaining that one, Freud!
And....now apparently I must tag people:
Good Luck with all the Other Pandas
I Hate You Peter Smythe
Peanuts, Penguins, and Plutocracy