My husband and I rarely go to bed at the same time, but on the rare occasion that we do, we’ll compare notes about how tired we are. This week, we commiserated about exhaustion one evening, after I’d shampooed the carpet for the same four hours he spent watching TV.
To my amazement, my husband can nod off within seconds of his head hitting the pillow. Even after operating heavy machinery for hours while cripplingly sleep deprived, I’ve never managed to go from 60 to zero in 15 seconds. If I weren’t a frequent witness to the “I’m being eaten alive” jerking that goes with it, I’d swear that my husband is faking it when he falls asleep. He could win a contest.
Doesn’t he have some kind of list to go over in his head before he goes to sleep?
In less than a minute, he’ll be the human chainsaw. One or two power snorts will jerk him awake for a second – long enough to question what day it is or whether I’d just yelled his name – before he’ll fully commit to checking out for the night.
As I lie there looking at the time on the nightstand clock, I’ll sigh at having stayed up too late and hope the physical exhaustion of carpet cleaning will lure me to sleep. But first, I’ll recap the day and think about what I’m going to wear tomorrow. Doing that will prompt me to look at the weather app on my phone and respond to some waiting text messages. Then I’ll take a mental inventory of what won’t need ironing in the morning.
While I struggle to get my neck right on the pillow, I’ll realize I won’t be comfortable all night because my husband is sleeping on my perfect pillow. As he enters Stage 3 sleep, I’ll arrange and fluff the remaining pillows (all railroad ties except for the one he’s got).
Finally, I’ll convince myself that I’m about to drift off. It’s late, but if I fall asleep within the next 10 or 15 minutes, I can still salvage enough sleep to function in the morning. I’ll close my eyes and perfect my relaxation technique, visualizing myself floating weightlessly in the pool, sufficiently SPFed, without a care in the world and not a single wasp within a five-mile radius.
Within a couple of minutes, I’ll feel my breathing getting shallower as I let go. Rambling thoughts will begin replacing waking thoughts. I’ll even tell myself, “I must be asleep now. There’s no way that scenario about XYZ would even enter my mind if I weren’t asleep. The sheer ridiculousness of such a random thought …”
“Is there a WASP NEST inside the patio door? Is that why I keep seeing the same wasp at that door? Is that thing laying eggs right this minute? When is the last time anyone saw a can of Raid around here?”
And I’m officially awake.
While wasp eggs are on the verge of hatching in the cracks of the patio doors right downstairs, my husband lies in a coma. Checked out for the evening.
“Did anyone even check to see if the back door is locked?”
“I didn’t lock it. It’s probably unlocked. And now we’ll probably have a robber tonight. And when we do, I hope he gets stung on his eyeballs by the thousands of wasps that are sharpening their stingers while they incubate in the patio door right now.”
I’ll check the clock and realize I’ve just spent 15 minutes obsessing about wasps and another 45 minutes reassuring myself that a healthy fear of flying, buzzing things with stingers is perfectly normal, just like my growing fear of a robber coming in through the back door. I’ll run through a checklist of my other neuroses, just to be sure they’re nothing to worry about, before strategizing how I can wear my hair in the morning without washing it. I’ll be judged, I know, but my struggle is real.
I’ll flop around a few more minutes and try to recall the list of unwanted side effects from the Lunesta commercials I’ve only passively watched on TV, before I knew I have “occasional difficulty falling asleep.”
Without realizing it, I’ll finally fall asleep for what will feel like 10 minutes. The alarm will go off three times before I stop hitting the snooze button – tearing myself away from the best sleep position of my life, which I always seem to discover about five minutes before I wake up.
My annoyed husband will complain that he couldn’t go back to sleep after the alarm went off the first time and all he could do was lie wide awake for the next 30 minutes.
Convinced that the robber drugged me with sleep aids during the night, I’ll make a groggy case for just 10 more minutes, but not before I tell my husband to check that buzzing sound around the patio door.