Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sleeping and other bodily functions

One of the things that I'm really good at is sleeping. First of all, I grew up with one of the best sleepers I've ever met. My father. I swear to god, a normal day in my father's life (when I was a child) went something like this:

morning: rise early - somewhere between 4 and 8 am depending on the season. 7 would be pretty average. work, eat, have coffee, work, have a snack, work, break for lunch.

afternoon: have a nap after lunch either on the couch, or maybe in his chair, occasionally lying in the sun. work, have coffee and snack (or beer maybe in summer), work, quit somewhere between 3 and 6pm. Sit down to read a magazine, fall asleep. Wake up for supper.

evening: eat supper and chat with family. Lay down to watch tv, fall asleep. Wake up from nap and maybe spend a few hours on a hobby, talking with family, or more work. Fall asleep and if not already in bed, get up and go to bed.


Of course, don't forget I remember this through my child's eye. This was what his life looked like to me. I have less knowledge of what his daily life was really like. Seems I once heard he had difficulties sleeping... or maybe that was his mother.... Certainly we all know that great grandma who lived with dad as he was growing up - used to get up in the middle of the night and make oatmeal as she assumed it was morning, or at least was going to treat it as one if she were awake anyway.

I've inherited many things from my father and his mother's side of the family - one of them is sleep. We have a strange relationship with sleep.

I've been heard say on more than one occasion that I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime, and for any length of time. I knew when I fell asleep on a Guatemalan chicken bus - you know - one of those buses that we used here as a school bus in 1966, and then shipped to the third world thirty years later and is now serving as standard inter-town transportation for both cargo and passengers in many small countries. In Guatemala the people are pretty small. They put extra seats in the bus. When I squeezed my 6 ft form into the seat, my knees were pretty much in my chest. I slept for at least half of the 8 hour journey. In the heat! I knew then that I had a rare and wonderful talent.

When I fly from Toronto to Vancouver (4,5 hours) I often fall asleep before the plane leaves the tarmac in Toronto and wake as the plane approaches for a landing in Vanouver. I'm not kidding. I slept all but 5 hours of the 13 hour flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver and then half of the connecting flight to Toronto.

And no, I do not take sleeping pills.

I like to sleep. I do it a lot. I'm good at it.

Turns out I also have one and possibly two medical conditions that cause and/or necessitate that I sleep an inordinate amount. When it gets really bad I'll sleep about 17 hours a day.

It's a rare day when I can't fall asleep at night. Rarer still is if I awake in the night and can not go back to sleep. In fact, I wake often in the night. I wake, look at the clock, turn over and go back to sleep. Often up to 6 times a night. Like my father before me, I am the queen of the cat nap. 5 minutes; 15 minutes; an hour or two - and often.

So... when I can't fall asleep at night, I figure, like my great grandmother before me, that I may as well just treat it like a day. I get up. I do something. Tonight I have written this....

Actually I meant to write about this, and hormones, and that I'm having one of those 30+ day months that I get occasionally.... or is this the beginning of the end? meaning.... the big M; the M word; the change.... fucking menopause. Obviously, I'm not happily embracing this inevitable part of my life. I've thought alot about death and dying and I don't think I'm too freaked about that.... but menopause.... shit ... turns out I'm not really crazy about it. Like Samantha from "Sex and the City", menopause means growing old, losing youth, losing sex appeal. People can die at any age, but menopause only happens to those who live that long.

In either case.... onset of menopause or one of those freakishly long cycles I sometimes have... this explains a lot of my eratic behaviour of late. Turns out the week I met the latest object of my affection I was at the height of my cycle; meaning I was fertile and looking for sex! I really didn't think I was, at the time... but .... maybe that's it.

I do consider the possibility that love is just about proximity. I may simply fall in love with any man I fuck when my hormones are in a particular 'state'. That's it: wrong place, wrong time, if he likes me a little and is reasonably attractive himself. Voila! I'm in love!

Now... at least one of my friends would be interrupting me right about now to insist that what I'm talking about isn't love. Well, in answer to that I would say that I think there are lots of different kinds of love and that although they start and grow (or not) in many different ways... 'falling in love' is one of the more common starting points. Sometimes we 'fall in love' with someone we already know... a friend or colleague... but we still 'fall'.

Besides, that's one of the reasons why blogs are so great.... you get to talk, without friends interrupting.

I am kept awake by thoughts of the object of my affection; and that I am likely not the object of his affection; and perhaps I'm going into menopause and if that's true, it's no wonder I'm not the object of his affection.

If I keep this up I'll never fly. (Happy thoughts Peter. Think happy thoughts. - Tinker Bell to Peter Pan)

Happy thought: My day will come.

For more hormone related amusement see:

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