My brain and I have a standing 2:30 a.m. reservation every night in my bedroom. At this meeting we use the time to go over every stupid thing I’ve ever said or we try to fix things we cannot possibly fix. For example, last night my brain woke me up to think about my trashcans. In particular, the blue one we just bought. Earlier that morning I went out to bring in the cans and discovered that our trash collectors had mangled yet another innocent can. Unable to deal with it at the time, my brain filed it away and decided to bring it up at 2:30 in the morning. A fine time to talk.
This pattern has gone on nightly for most of the year. I fall asleep without incident just to have myself jolted awake by my brain wanting to talk about the half-eaten can of chili beans in the fridge or the dying bush in the backyard.
I read somewhere that if you write down what you keep thinking about, it will allow you to let it go. I decided to give it a try. Armed with my note pad I began to write down all my random thoughts. All this accomplished was an agenda for my brain to follow at our 2:30 a.m. meeting.
So I tried vodka. A few drinks in the evening to help me sleep translated into a hangover while my brain rattled on and on about the dog hair on the couch in the living room. Sleeping pills? Hilarious. My brain still managed to wake me up to tell me that I hadn’t put the butter back in the fridge after dinner. I’ve tried it all; CBD, Melatonin, lavender, warm baths, meditation and weird sleeping sounds that scare the dogs.
The other night as I lay in bed wide awake, I heard an owl hooting. Although charming at first, the hooting began to grate on my nerves – everything does at 2:30 in the morning. I opened the door in an attempt to “shoo” it away and didn’t realize just how close it was. I was nearly hit in the head by a giant owl. All of this could have been avoided if my brain would just let me sleep.
I am writing this column from my bed. On tonight’s agenda my brain decided to replay bad country songs. Every time I close my eyes I hear an endless jukebox while Zach snores away. I hear the owl in the tree and the faint sound of an occasional semi drive through town. The light at the library flickers on as javalinas wander through. I can hear them rattling the trashcans next door at Red Mountain Foods. Eventually I will fall back asleep and if I don’t there’s a $20 bottle of eye cream that will make me look like I had.
I guess it’s just my fate to be awake every day at 2:30a.m. According to my dear friend Martha, it’s what happens to women of “my age.” The nerve. Out of curiosity, I Googled “How long does it take to go crazy from lack of sleep?” The answer is 72 hours – 72 consecutive hours, not a few hours here and there over time. So for now Patagonia you are safe. Should my ride to crazy happen to accelerate, I’ll let you k