It’s 3AM. You know, when your eyes pop open and if it weren’t pitch black, you’d be seeing quite clearly? Because you’re totally wide awake? You don’t want to check to see if maybe, just maybe, it’s actually around 6AM, because you know better. You know it’s not this dark at 6AM. And you’ve been here so many times before you have a Frequent Wakers’ card. In fact, you’re Chairman’s Preferred status. But you check, anyway. Sure enough, 3AM. Just in case, the grandfather’s clock chimes three times, mocking you.
Sigh. The first thing you try is ignorance. Nah, I’m not really awake. I can fall back to sleep immediately. Except that now that I’m awake, I have to go to the bathroom. Maybe if I turn over…nope. Now I have to go even more. The floor is cold, which only wakes you up even more. The dog, in his never-ending quest to kill you, has relocated himself and is right in your path. In your pitch black path. You trip and he doesn’t flinch, because he’s as solid as a Jersey barrier. You swear. Your husband’s snore becomes a startled grunt.
You make it back to bed and resume Trying to Fall Back to Sleep. If there is ever a non-self-fulfilling act, this is it. The harder you try, the more awake you get. You try harder to stop trying. No there’s a really tortured concept. The thoughts that will keep you awake begin to circle. Do I have all the tax forms? Am I sleeping on my hair funny? What color petunias should we order? Did karma ever take care of of that jerk I used to work with? Is the dog breathing funny? Is my husband breathing funny? Is he even breathing? What if he’s dead? The dog, or my husband? If it’s the dog, what will we do? I’ll miss him. I’ll cry. I won’t be able to lift him- he’s weighs the same as a Jersey barrier. It seems like only yesterday he was a puppy our daughter brought home…this is too sad. This is silly. He’s probably fine. Should I just go touch him to be sure? Just as I lift the covers, he snorts. Whew. Now about my husband…but he, too, snorts, then resumes snoring, along with the dog. Now I can lay here bitching about how all this snoring is keeping me awake.
More and more random thoughts circle faster and faster. I’m directly in the path of a raging Thoughtnado! I draw upon my meditative training- I am not my mind. I can escape from those thoughts. They’re in a tight, furious whirl, heading in my direction. I race for the nearest bench to be an Observer, but the Thoughtnado clips me on the left, dropping thoughts onto my head. “…the first day that she planted it, it was just a twig…and Honey, I miss you…” I run faster. I scream-think “Breathe in, breathe out…and I’m being go-od, cuz I long to be with you, if only I…” BREATHE IN! BREATHE OUT, DAMMIT!
“Oh, I’m being followed by a Thoughtnado, Thoughtnado, Thoughtnado.” Thanks for the tune, Cat Stevens.
Whew. Made it to the imaginary mind bench. Am I asleep yet? Obviously not. Thanks goodness it’s not too hot, and nothing itches. So naturally, my head begins to itch. As I pull my arm out from under the covers to scratch my head I feel the warm air from the furnace that just turned on. BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT! “Somewhe-e-re over the rainbow”…little Judy Garland- now THAT was a long time ago…
The last thing I remember was finishing the entire song in my head and beginning to think about bluebirds. And the sound of my husband and dogs getting up. It must be around 6AM as I finally fall back to sleep. My husband has no idea why I wake up tired.