Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Intense insomnia last night. Fell asleep by 11:30pm, and woke at midnight after dreaming there was a rat in my laptop bag. As I tried to fall asleep again, gilded rhombuses, tetrahedrons, and spheres floated behind my closed eyelids, each containing an image or alphanumeric code. It was like one of those tests the NSA gives you during pre-employment. As these shapes came to the fore in my consciousness, a new train of thought would begin.

I pulled out a sleep CD given me by Big Red. Sometimes it works immediately, other times it doesn't work at all. The first segment is of a breathy female voice speaking with an upper-crust English accent over mysterious New Age music. "Imagine you are dissolving into the aether," she says, and names body parts as they drift away and evanesce. By the time she started reciting the bones of the ears I knew the CD wasn't going to cut it, but I kept listening because by that point there was nothing better to do. Later on in the CD it gets really far-out, and she narrates your merging with the Godhead in eternal bliss. The last segment asks for you to mail your credit card number and PIN to a Burbank address as she tells you "forget you heard this part, you are One with Everything," all the while electric splashes and wave sounds worthy of Vangelis carress your ears.

I gave up and went downstairs to the second floor. I lay on the couch listening to the sleet, and heard in the distance a train blowing morosely its approach to Penn Station. That took me back to my childhood in Fairfield PA, and hearing trains at night, and looking out the bedroom window to see long runs of lit passenger cars passing by in the night, the people visible inside in warm yellow glow. I used to wonder where the people were going, and if I'd ever go anywhere in a train. Those were the days when I could walk down the railroad tracks to my great grandmother's house. The tracks ran directly behind her place and from the back yard I could count cars, sometimes as many as 300, and note the then-new fancy Chessie Ferguson cars with their cool cat logos. Often there'd be a brakeman in striped hat with a lantern on the caboose who would wave to you. Seems ridiculous now, something from a TV show. And no, this train of thought (ugh) got me no closer to sleep.

At least the ice gave us an hour delay today, so I had to feign coherence through only one actual lesson. The kids were more lethargic than I, and Lukie yawned mightily a half-dozen times. I hope I can sleep tonight.

[image credit]


Alicia said...

Watching fish in an aquarium is also supposed to help insomnia, that and you shouldn't drink ANY caffeine :) I sometimes have a hard time sleeping if I haven't made it to the gym, but if I go to the gym and take a good class, I'm usually can't keep my eyes open. I also fall asleep faster if I try to keep my eyes open and just decide I'm never falling asleep. Then I usually do.

Nyarlathotep said...

I've had insomnia after running six miles that day; then the second day after not sleeping I've run six miles and had insomnia again.

I drink one cup of coffee in the morning, and almost never touch sodas or caffeinated tea.

Fishtanks don't help, not drinking coffee doesn't help (I've gone without caffeine for half-a-year and still had regular insomnia)--sometimes it just happens.

It runs in my family too. My mom has it, her parents both had it, my uncle has it.

fernie said...

Maybe you're just having a hard time sleeping cause you know your Mom's going in for surgery! It's 4:00 and I've been awake for hours. You forgot that the great grandparents also needed their "rest" pills to sleep.

Everytime I close my eyes the wind blows and the ice is skittering (is that a word) across the roof or coming off the trees. Never heard anything like this in the 9 years that we're here.

You're doomed to sleeplessness! Especially if something major is happening and you let it get to you.