You might have thought it was the dog in your bed the way the poor thing whimpered, the way his leg jerked out, then kept running as if squirrels taunted him in the forest. You may have thought the kids were geniuses the way they blurted out mathematical figures and long monologues of poetry with their eyes shut. You may have thought someone was sick, someone was lonely or someone was angry, if you came upon any of us in our sleep.
My family will never go to one of those sleep clinics. I’m afraid they’d never let us leave. We are too much material for the research machine. We’re sleep walkers, sleep talkers, sleep writers and sleep arguers. We have solved all the problems of the world without ever waking up. If we were more enlightened we might think we were tapped into Shiva, the goddess of sleep. But instead, we just think it’s weird when people say they don’t dream, or if they do, they don’t remember.
I can fly in my sleep just take a few running steps and lift off. It’s not at all scary and I am in perfect control. I dream in technicolor, I revisit places, I see places I’ll go to next week and I remember it all. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night and write it all down, just so I get it exactly right. I have known what was around the corner in strange places, because I have been there in my dreams. I have used dreams to jumpstart stories, to fill in the blanks of novels, to find that perfect line of a poem. I have also been angry with real life people for betraying me in my dreams and cautious of others because of what they may or may not have done in my dream.
My subconscious is such a strong part of me, it’s too bad I think sleeping is a waste of time. I’m a 4-6 hour girl. By choice.
My kids can just lie there 10- 12 hours, no problem. My husband can sleep 13 hours, and has, but if he’s under stress, he’ll flop around all night, he’ll mumble and flail and then he’ll
talk in his sleep. If I want to mess with him, I’ll answer back. This can go on for a few sentences and although I have no idea what what we’re arguing about, I always let him win. It’s his dream.
Dreaming isn’t all of it. I used to sleepwalk, not as bad as those weirdoes who pee in the kitchen trash can or eat odd food in the fridge, or the one girl who cleans all night and then is too tired the next day to do her job well. The first time anyone witnessed my sleepwalking, I was at my grandmother’s house and had gotten up from the makeshift bed on the couch, walked right into the bathroom where my tough as nails New Jersey aunt was brushing her teeth, told her good night and climbed into the bathtub, sliding the glass door shut behind me.
Not so bad, right? Though embarrassing in the morning. Maybe not as bad as my sister who became a bus driver in her sleep. One morning at our one room cabin in the Adirondacks, she told us all to “Move to the back of the bus!” I thought she ought to set her sights a little higher next time she pulled up the sheets.
Maybe having this second life under the covers is a good thing, after all who can blame you for what you do when you’re sleeping, right? If only I could fall into it as easily and with as little guilt as my dogs.
Yes, I have been trying to rest more while my nose heals.