For the last several months (years, it seems), I have struggled with almost nightly bouts of insomnia. Oh, I usually have no trouble falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow (unless the snoring grizzly who shares my bed beats me to it), but within a few short hours I am wide awake once more, alternately glancing angrily at the bedside clock, punching my pillow and staring miserably into the surrounding blackness.
I know better than to crawl out of bed and turn on the TV–I would cry along with Casablanca (again) or laugh along with Seinfeld (again). Even worse would be turning on the computer and becoming engrossed in the late-night Facebook dramas of too many people I barely know or cruising through Google and Wikipedia’s latest offerings of must-have knowledge. And I sure don’t want to switch on a light and pick up whatever book I’m currently reading. No, I can’t do anything that might further engage my over-charged brain; I need to find a way to power it off.
And so I start by counting sheep (why not cows or kangaroos?), but when that proves pointless I progress to diagramming compound-complex sentences or silently reciting Shakespearean monologues; those used to be sleep-inducing activities for my students–why won’t they work for me?
And so, in the end, I simply lie awake and allow my restless mind to wander, hoping that eventually, mercifully, it will stumble into the land of blissful slumber. While I am waiting for that magical moment, though, I sure have some weird thoughts bouncing around up there . . .
Is it really possible to swallow a spider in my sleep–and if so, over the course of my lifetime, how many unsuspecting spiders have crept into my wide-open mouth and tickled their way across my tongue, only to be smashed to smithereens in the caverns of my esophagus?
If parents could actually see and hear themselves at their children’s ballgames–screaming and yelling, faces contorted and fists shaking–would they be embarrassed enough to amend their future spectator behavior?
Why does getting my nails done make me feel pretty?
Can someone else take remote control of my computer and be able to see me through the monitor without my knowledge? Okay, I know that’s silly (isn’t it?), but I still can’t help wondering–and I still can’t help feeling just a little uncomfortable changing clothes in front of it. (Please, somebody else tell me you have the same concern!)
Do animals have complex thought processes? Do they have their own language, with adjectives and adverbs and complete sentences? And do they talk about us behind our backs and share our secrets with all their animal buddies?
Why is it almost impossible to peel back the foil on a yogurt container without some of the yogurt “burping” onto my shirt?
What does my voice really sound like to other people? I already know there is a huge difference between what it sounds like in my head and what it sounds like on tape–how much more different does it sound to others? And does that voice sound as great as I think it does when I’m singing in the car–and as badly as I think it does when I’m singing in the congregation?
If we lived in a “clothing optional” society, would I be the only one lacking the courage to stroll around au naturel, thereby making me the outcast and confirming my already suspected weirdo status? Or would there be others who would buy into my theories that “less is more” and “imagination is everything”?
What happens to all the money thrown into wishing wells? And if someone sneaks into the wishing well after dark and pockets the coins, are the corresponding wishes negated? If I’m in the middle of having my wish fulfilled and then–POOF!–it’s gone, is that because someone just deposited my dime in a vending machine?
And which has a greater success rate–throwing coins into a wishing well, wishing on a falling star or wishing while blowing out birthday candles? (I’m putting my money on the falling star.)
Does anyone else feel cheated by fortune cookies that don’t actually contain “fortunes”? I mean, a “fortune” should be a prediction of things to come (“A thrilling time is in your immediate future”), not a mere pronouncement (“You have a deep appreciation of the arts and music”). Right? And does everyone else add the phrase “in bed” to the end of every fortune, or is that just a local trend practiced by a lot of bored, wishful thinkers?
How much of the person I’ve become was pre-destined by genetics and how much was created by early environment–and how much has been by my own choice? And how much of “me” could I change if I really wanted to?
How much do tattoos hurt–and for how long? And if they hurt that badly, why do so many people have more than one?
Seriously, how many people are actually “laughing out loud” when they type “LOL”? (I bet very few.) And why do people type “Tks” or “Thx” instead of “thanks”–does it really require too much effort to type three more letters?
Why is it that if I have both legs under the covers, I’m too hot, and if I have both legs on top of the covers, I’m too cold? (And so, the only way I can be comfortable is to have one leg under and one leg over.)
All the tarantulas that are crossing the highway in the fall–where are they headed? Do they burrow into the ground, hide in a cave, or migrate south for the winter? And why are they always “crossing” the highway instead of skittering down it?
How much of Dr. Ruth’s knowledge is based on personal experience? (Okay, maybe I don’t want to know the answer to that one; the visuals alone could be fodder for future nightmares–that is, if I ever sleep long enough to get to that stage.)
What about you, readers–do you ever have some of these same weird thoughts? And what’s the weirdest thought you’ve ever had in the middle of a sleepless night? Share, please, so I don’t feel so alone (and so I have something new to think about around 2 a.m. tomorrow morning) . . .