3 Sep 2012

Insomnia

It was one of those nights. It was too short. And yet, it seemed so long. The next morning, I'd have to get up at 5 in the morning to catch the flight into my Labour Day weekend. It was 11 in the evening already, and I had just returned from an exhilarating concert of one my favorite teenage pop acts. High time, then, to get some sleep.

Easier said than done. With my bags all packed, I rushed to brush my teeth, turn off the lights and wrap myself into the fluffy duvet. “Only a bit more than five hours before another long day starts”, I reminded myself as I squeezed my eyes closed. “Must sleep at once!”

Half an hour later, I had relived the best parts of the concert I’d just seen. Another half hour (or three cycles of the fridge compressor running, if you must know) later, I’d mentally walked through the process of getting to the airport the next morning – not that this is anything that requires particular cerebral effort. After that, as I was counting my flock of sheep, Dolly #47 veered off course and fell down some steep alpine cliff. And I was wide awake again.

It is ironic, Alanis Morrisette would undoubtedly contend. The harder you try to fall asleep, the less likely you are to succeed, regardless of the state of fatigue you’re in. After an intensive week at work, and almost a month’s worth of parental visits, I could certainly have done with the rest. But it was not to be.

Earlier that day, as Friday afternoon dragged on at the office, I had visions of my bed and imagined myself cuddle in the crisp white linen (in reality, my bedding is far less fancy, but hey, it’s a daydream after all!). But when the time came and went, I lay awake in bed thinking about the quagmires of work. Certainly, this couldn’t be what long weekends were supposed to be about?

At 5 o’clock sharp, the alarm went off. I must have succumbed to sleep eventually, but judging by the way I felt, it could not have been very long ago. Despite a cold shower and a double double from the Tim Hortons by the bus stop, I was barely able to keep my eyes up as I joined the security queues at the airport. Mercifully, they were short and moving quickly, for my vision still blurred passengers and sheep – and this time, they had an incredibly strong somniferous effect! (None were allowed to stray, either).

In a daze, I made it to the plane I was supposed to catch, and before the flight attendants even had a chance to ask if I’d prefer the greasy omelet or the chewy waffles for breakfast, I’d already reclined my seat, pulled down my eye mask and was off to the land of clouds.

As a dear friend, and recently departed traveller, once put it to me, he’d “always fared best by letting my body sleep when it wanted to, and staying awake when it did not.” May he rest in peace.

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