When I was a teenager, I had a computer in my room. I thought it was awesome – I could play games, listen to music, write, and even occasionally venture out onto the internet (although this was rare, as I lived in the days of dial-up). The thing is, though, this computer was made in or around 1995. It was a bit of a dinosaur. I would push the “on” button, go watch The Simpsons with my dad, then come back to see the desktop screen finally loading. I had a similar problem shutting it down; usually, I would tell it to shut down, go to bed, and then doze off while the computer lazily worked its way to the “It’s now safe to turn off your computer” screen. Then I would have to get out of bed to hit the “off” button. Occasionally, it would freeze while shutting down or booting up.
My sleeping habits remind me of this computer. When I wake up in the morning, it’s something like this:
Oh. It’s morning.
There’s my alarm.
Hmm. I hear things.
I wonder if my eyes work yet.
Nope. It’s bright out there. That was stupid.
…and so on. Half an hour later, I might slide out of bed onto the floor, look around blearily, and stagger like a drunk to the bathroom to take a warm shower. Going to sleep is similar: lie down, close eyes, slowly let brain unwind, toss and turn, mutter a little bit, gradually drift off to semi-consciousness, eventually start snoring.
My husband, on the other hand, is like a wind-up matchbox car. The kind you crank up, put on the floor, and it just flies across the room. At night, he runs out of juice and stops. One second he’s discussing a topic of importance, the next he’s out cold, sawing logs. While he sleeps, that little crank inside him winds up, and the instant he wakes up in the morning, he just takes off!
This morning, he compared it to a light switch. He wakes up instantly. Flip a switch in his brain, and he’s good to go. I wake up like a sunrise. Eventually, it’ll be day. In the meantime, it’s kind of getting light, sort of. Gradually. Don’t rush it, man.
The contrast was especially clear this morning. I was blearily aware that the alarm was going off. Ethan hit the snooze button, turned over, and said, “Good morning!”
I said, “Mmmph.”
Ethan said, “Man, that was weird. I had a dream that it was Sunday, and that I woke up and I looked at the clock and it said 4:30! Then I got up and checked the microwave, and the clock out there said 4:30, too! So I was running all over the place trying to figure out if it was some kind of a joke, and then I was all panicky because we’d slept through church. And then I was just freaking out, trying to figure out how we managed to sleep for like 20 hours anyway, because there’s no way that was healthy. So I woke you up and told you what was wrong, and you were like, ‘I turned the clocks over last night.’ And I was trying to figure out why you would do that, and what that was supposed to mean.”
My brain said, “What’s going on?” My mouth said, “Mmm?”
Ethan continued to describe the enormous churro he was dreaming about after that, then hit the snooze button on the alarm again and asked if I was getting up. I slurred, “I’m getting up at 7.”
Ethan said, “Okay,” turned over, and went back to sleep. Just like that. This happened again at 7, except this time I was in the shower trying to figure out how to talk when he was telling me about the churro. I don’t think I was fully functional until he’d already gotten dressed, made breakfast, and given up on conversation for the time being. Poor guy. I’m trying, Ethan. I’m trying. ♦