As many of you know, I have a long and storied history of sleep disturbances. Insomnia, screwy dreams, sleepwalking … they’re all part of being me, whether I like it or not, which of course I don’t (except for the dreams, which are often extremely entertaining).
Insomnia is something I’ve grown to expect and tolerate as the years have passed. I can function on no or little sleep now. It isn’t pleasant, but as long as I maintain momentum, I’m fine. The screwy dreams (which incidentally often follow a period of acute insomnia, which I suppose isn’t all that surprising) … meh, they can be fun, spectacular, even, but often they’re just disturbing. They can leave me feeling off for an entire day.
The sleepwalking, though, is a fascinating but terrifying thing that I’ve experienced my whole life. I sleepwalked during pre-school, apparently, and I did so a few years later, traipsing through the living room late at night, arms above my head, when my father and brothers were still awake. I think I might have uttered something to the room at large, but I can’t remember what it was (Brian, do you remember?).
In high school, my tendency to roam the house at night grew into another kind of beast altogether. The first time I became aware of it was Thanksgiving my sophomore year. Apparently I crept downstairs in the middle of the night, fetched the recently and lovingly baked pumpkin pie, grabbed a spoon and proceeded to gut said pie, scooping its innards into the sink. After the damage was done, I ascended the stairs and went back to bed. Only the next morning, when my mother expressed her outrage, did I realize what I’d done.
This particular incarnation of sleepwalking occurred off and on roughly until my junior year of college, with a few traditional sleepwalking episodes thrown in for fun (I woke up one morning with dirt on my feet after an apparent walk around the complex). And for one relatively brief period of extreme stress in my 25th year, I experienced the scariest form of sleepwalking of all: sleepdriving. Yes, sleepdriving. I parked in one place when I got home from work, and the next day I awoke to find my apartment door unlocked, my keys in an unusual spot, and my car parked in a different place, facing the opposite direction. As you can imagine, that was extremely unnerving.
Anyway, for the last several years I’ve been happily free of somnambulism. I certainly have trouble sleeping, and my dreams are undeniably screwy (the other night I dreamt I had a job interview up North, and for the life of me couldn’t keep my twang in check; in fact, my twang became progressively pronounced until even I couldn’t understand what I was saying, much less my interviewer. Upon waking, I found the dream hilarious.).
But for several years, I’ve been free of sleepwalking — until just recently. A couple of weeks ago, I think, I descended the stairs into my kitchen to find a newly purchased tub of fat-free sour cream open, its contents lying in the basin. WTF? WTF???? I really was shocked to see it there. Thankfully, I haven’t had another episode since, but the experience did rattle me. This is the sort of thing one figures one will outgrow at some point, like acne or senseless crushes (neither of which I seem to have fully outgrown, by the way). Nope. Not for this grammarian. When life becomes particularly stressful, my wacky subconscious kicks in and makes life even more interesting. Is it too early to give my body and mind to science?