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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Friday, February 13, 2009

I Blame Tornadoes and My Ex

Though this is the first night with no sleep in the past eight weeks, the usual insomniac cycle is one week on and three weeks off. I can't really tell you what triggers it either, depends on the circumstance I guess. If I lie down to sleep with an overactive brain I never really relax and all it takes is one significant something to pull me out the rest of the way. (Tonight it was the stupid drunk man downstairs that shouted out an extremely complex sentence consisting of mostly slurred F-words and one final resounding F-word to prove his point.) So I've been up since 1:30, killing time on the Internet until I started asking myself when these bouts of insomnia really began. I used to blame it on graduate school and the constant writing and research I did while loaded with caffeine and nicotine. But as I sat here tracing my sleep patterns backward, I decided the true origin was somewhere in Enid, Oklahoma where I had to endure tornadoes and a husband that slept with earplugs.

I'm from California and, though I fear and respect the earthquakes, I would much rather endure an earthquake than a tornado. Earthquakes are unpredictable but you can live for years without experiencing one and, unless you're extremely close to the epicenter, most of the time you just get a good jolt and you're on your way (false sense of security, I guess). But tornadoes are seasonally random; you never really know when it's coming for you, but you have the promise that it will be coming (sometime between March and July) and it will come for you over and over again (like a recurring nightmare). To top it off, it makes an entrance with some ominously black rolling clouds, like the vengeful voice of the angry Old Testament God, and a sound like the wheels of an unbelievably overpowered semi-truck straight from a Hell created by Stephen King (one of the most terrorizing sounds I've ever heard). And when these ominous forces of destruction touch down, depending on its size and its fury, it also promises to damage and/or demolish everything in its unpredictable path.

Now, keeping all of that in mind, I was twenty-four years old and five months pregnant by the time tornado season came upon us. So, take an overly sensitive hormonal pregnant girl, add an irrational sense of fear instilled by The Wizard of Oz, some alarms reminiscent of bomb dropping Nazis, a husband that sleeps with sound proofed ears and... voila! The Light Sleeper is born.

I can't tell you how many times I went to bed at night telling myself to stay awake just enough to hear the sirens. Similarly, I can't tell you how many times I endured a grumpy husband, angered by me telling him to wake up and get in the basement. One time he was so angry with me I just left him there, I sat in the basement by myself worried, frightened, but resigned to the idea that at least the baby and I would be fine, once they dug us out of the rubble.

Obviously, I don't live there any more, nor am I married to a man that stuffs his ears with sound stoppers, but apparently I never got over the need to keep my ears alert while sleeping. And since that time I've filled my mind with books and research and intangible theoretical ideas that I constantly try to prove or disprove through life experience -- this creates a situation where the brain refuses to shut down. I suppose it thinks that if the ears are awake the imagination may as well stay up too. Intellectually, I have no problem with this. I enjoy being awake and I enjoy using that time to create something out of nothing. Physically? It takes its toll. And after about four or five nights of no sleep the migraine sets in with a promise to knock me down and out.

And I'm not even sure why I'm writing this, other than I can't sleep and I chose to. It really has no point. Nor is it very humorous or entertaining. This is more like something I should put in a spiral notebook that no one reads, not even me.

I realize that I'm not being very considerate of my reader, since this is basically a boring piece. Perhaps you can pretend that you snuck into my home and found one of my random notebooks thinking you'd take a peek at some of Pandora's secret and intimate thoughts. Now you can pretend you're disappointed that it wasn't something juicy -- you grabbed the wrong notebook.

Feel free to give this a C. I would.

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