Monday, December 17, 2007

insomnia

This story was originally published as a Facebook note on the morning of December 13, 2007.

A little comedic piece I started at approximately 3am yesterday morning...

10 things to do when you’re awake for no good reason in the middle of the night.

1. Lie in your bed in the dark, worrying about absolutely everything – from the woeful state of your bank account to the war in Iraq. This is an especially cheerful old-school pastime that is bound to entertain you for several hours.

2. Watch YouTube. (I would tell you to watch TV, but I don’t own one myself, and I’m going for a vérité feel in this piece).

YouTube has the added “really wake you up” benefit of requiring user-generated search-parameter input (i.e. you have to type words into the search field) – guaranteed to keep enough of your neurons firing to preclude drowsiness until at least 6am.

Another value-added perk of YouTube-watching is the ability to find several inane videos that you can then forward to all your Facebook friends.* (Yay FunWall and SuperWall!)

(*Warning: excessive use of this entertaining Wall-posting feature will quickly result in the LOSS of all your Facebook friends.)

3. While we’re on the subject of Facebook: It just so happens that FB is probably THE supreme insomniac diversion.

Start by spending an hour or two manually searching for long-lost friends who fell through your “Friend Finder” cracks.

Then browse a few hundred groups looking for ones you might like to join. Try to figure out if Facebook has a limit to the number of groups you can join.

(It does. And yes, you may consider that a dare.)

Troll your friends’ Fun- and SuperWalls for annoying chain letters, to forward to all the friends who haven’t already dropped you.

Play your next move in Scrabulous. Then start a bunch of new Scrabulous games when you realize that no one else is going to be playing their moves anytime soon. Try to figure out if there’s a limit to the number of Scrabulous games that you can have going at any given time...

5. Plow your driveway of newly fallen snow. I did not make that up. There is actually some f*cking idiot running a snowblower outside my window as I write this.

(Really. And it is 330am.)

This definitely falls under the “misery loves company” category of midnight diversions.

(I’m imagining a little “Misery” of my own right now – something along the lines of a Kathy Bates scene...)

6. Eat.

Forget anything you’ve ever heard about how consuming food in the middle of the night really packs on the pounds. I’m here to reassure you that food eaten between the hours of 2 and 5am has absolutely no calories.

Resist the urge to try new flavour combinations, however. Dipping those Ruffles potato chips into that half-empty jar of crunchy peanut butter is a recipe for gastric disaster. You’re already going to feel crushingly sleep-deprived at work later this morning. No need to add indigestion to the list of complaints.

7. Wake and dial.

This is a cheerful variation of the classic “drink and dial” activity – with the added advantage of sobriety.

Better yet, why not begin a fruitful career as a prank caller? Dial some random numbers and ask for their favorite sleep tips. Just be sure to press *67 first.

(I am currently giggling uncontrollably at the thought of calling up some poor schmuck in the middle of the night. Maybe sleep deprivation is not unlike being drunk, after all.)

8. Clean your apartment.You know it never gets done during daylight hours – so why not take advantage of this “found time”? Running the vacuum is guaranteed to endear you to your roommates and/or adjacent neighbours. (See item 5 on plowing your driveway, above.)

9. Experiment with “white noise”.

This is an especially worthwhile endeavor if you share a bed with someone who is still asleep – and snoring. Turn on the TV to a holding pattern or an impossibly high channel. Set your clock radio between stations. Lug that floor fan up from the basement and play with the speed settings.

How much white noise does it take to truly drown out the sound of a person snoring? And what kind of funky distorted noises can a snoring person make when a floor fan is positioned six inches from their face? On "high"? Oops! Did your companion wake up? Guess they’re not snoring now…

10. Write a list of 10 things to do when you’re awake for no good reason in the middle of the night. (Skip number four, and when people ask, say: "Whadya expect? It was the middle of the night! I was sleep deprived, okay?")

It won’t help you get back to sleep, but it sure is entertaining. Just don’t let your boss see the list – he or she doesn’t need to know much creative energy you’re pouring into useless pursuits, rather than channeling it into your job.

(If you’re a freelance writer, on the other hand, you have just come up with a new article to sell – which could be an effective solution to the bank account situation mentioned in item 1.)

I’ll close with my grandmother’s favorite bedtime mantra: 'Night 'night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

(As a child I never knew what the hell a bedbug was. Apparently there is now a North-American resurgence of bedbug infestations, though. I just did a Google search on the subject of bedbugs. I do not recommend this as a pleasant insomnia-related activity.)

©2007 Michelle Lynne Goodfellow

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