I Can’t Sleep

I have a complicated relationship with sleep.

We don’t talk on the phone for hours. We don’t exchange clever emails. We don’t even text.

We don’t do anything at all because…I can’t sleep.

Well, it’s not so much that I can’t, but that I won’t. After all, it’s such a bloody waste of time.  I mean, you’re gonna get plenty of sleep after you die, right? So why rush things?

I’m convinced that eventually people will evolve and we will no longer require any more than an hour’s worth of sleep. Why the extra hour? Nostalgia.

Can you imagine what it would be like to have more time? Oh, the things I would do. For example, I would finally have a chance to respond to all my emails:

“Thank you for contacting me, but I am currently quite content with the status of my penis as is.  Should my position on this change, I will keep you in mind.”

“Dear Sirs, I appreciate you thinking of me when it comes to transferring millions of dollars from Nigeria to my account, but it just doesn’t feel right, you know? I’d rather make money the hard way.”

“Thank you for the offer of cheap medication, but I am not currently suffering from any of the ailments that you have mentioned. But I will be in touch soon.”

“I’m sure your product is wonderful, but Replica watches are really overrated, I prefer the original.”

Of course I’d do the important things too…  You know, like catching up on all the television shows available on Netflix. Books still take too much time. Though maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally write that great American novel. Except I’m Canadian.

But I digress…

You see, my complicated (some say troubled) relationship originally begun when I refused to go to sleep earlier than midnight. Quickly the issue had escalated as I tried to explore the boundaries of time… I’d begin to go to bed at 1am, then 2am, which turned to 3, then 4am and so on.  It was what you might call a “full fledged celebration of life.”  Of course, I’d then spend the rest of the day walking around like a zombie – but that’s besides the point, really.  After all, they are what you call “the undead.”

Soon enough, even when I was desperate to catch up on my beauty sleep – for the sake of my beauty (which was in rapid decline) – I couldn’t.  I’d lie awake at night pondering the meaning of life, and night after night, I still would not come to any solid conclusions.  And, still, I could not sleep.

Thoughts would occur in my head…for example:  How should I have answered the email to the Nigerian billionaire?  I would lie awake, imagining what I would do with all that money?  Perhaps I really should reconsider and invest in Viagra? At 11pm, it sounds silly, but at 3AM it turns into maybe-not-such-a-bad-idea.

Well, as it turns out there was another member of my family who had trouble sleeping. My father.  So we had a chat.  I learned that he had in fact discovered a great cure for his insomnia.  Rather than the traditional technique of counting sheep, he would instead make up stories.  Naturally, he’d fall asleep in no time.  With nothing to lose but my mind, I decided to try this “technique” of his.  But instead of succumbing to slumber, I would go over my stories, perfecting and crafting them, resisting every impulse to sleep since I was afraid I’d miss the ending.

Needless to say, this strategy didn’t work.

Then I turned to the Buddhists.  If someone had the solution, it had to be them.

They too have a technique.  You can calm your mind by letting thoughts come to you and without engaging them, just labelling them as “thoughts” and letting them pass through, until you no longer get them. (Or I could just dye my hair platinum blonde to achieve the same effect – leaving it to the chemicals to clear my mind. Sorry: blonde jokes are low hanging fruit.)

I decided to give it a try, so I would lie in bed and allowing these pesky thoughts to pass through me.

Who made the universe? THOUGHT.

Who made the thing that made the universe? THOUGHT.

Who made the thing that made the thing that made…THOUGHT!

Who made spam? Thought.

All these thoughts! They could drive a person insane. After some time of following this road to enlightenment (and hopefully sleep), I stopped getting thoughts, just the word THOUGHT stuck in my head, tormenting me.

Try as it may, nothing worked. On the occasion that I would fall asleep for a little while, well, I grew to appreciate it.  Not necessarily sleep itself so much, since I still consider it a waste of time, but dreams.  According to Freud, dreams often represent what it is that we subconsciously suppress in our waking life. And ever since the Nigerians failed to transfer my two million dollars, well, you can just imagine how many suppressed dreams I’ve had.

(Image credit: EviLLL from Creative Commons)
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