Last Word: Eyes Wide Open

I’ve come to the conclusion that most people fall into one of two categories; those who can sleep and everybody else. Anyone reading this knows that it’s true and can almost immediately identify which one they fall into. There are no exceptions.

I find that the sleepers of the world seem to be oddly pleased with their borderline narcolepsy and will cheerfully fill non-sleepers in on their ability to sleep anytime, anywhere.

[Illustration Wes Rand]

In addition, they don’t seem to mind sharing that they average 12 hours most nights and that they’d sleep even more if there wasn’t a pressing reason to get up, like a job, basic hygiene requirements or an overactive bladder.
As a member of the Insomniac Sleep Club for Women, I harbor a fair amount of resentment and loathing for these people and their excessive sleep.

My husband is one of them.

When we were first married, I can remember earnestly confessing all my hopes and desires into the wee hours of the night, only to realize that he hadn’t made it past “I always dreamed of being an ice dancer” before nodding off. I just assumed he was a good listener.

In a remarkable display of snooze aptitude, he can sleep through just about anything, including most airline flights, regardless of what’s happening. Mouth open and head bouncing around on a crescent roll neck pillow, he’s been known to blithely slumber away as flight attendants frantically run to their seats, overhead bins are spilling open, and the plane is performing air show stunts flying through bad weather.

Meanwhile, sitting beside him, bathed in sweat, I’m praying the rosary and scribbling last goodbyes on a peanut napkin.

Once, when our house alarm went off in the middle of the night, my husband stumbled out of bed, shut it off, and got back under the covers. Rigid with terror, I hissed, “What are you doing? The alarm went off!”

It took a few moments of him squinting at me, attempting to remember how we were related, before he was finally conscious enough to realize that something might actually be wrong, something worth exploring and calling the police about.

Had Freddy Krueger broken in and stuffed me into the wood chipper instead of someone accidentally leaving the basement door slightly ajar, my husband would have slept through the entire thing.

I’ve noticed that sleepers also seem to have uncanny ability to immediately return to sleep if they are awakened, as if nothing ever happened.

For someone like me, however, a Honda Civic backing out of a driveway one town over will jolt me awake and I’m up for rest of the night.

Sometimes I don’t mind; it gives me a chance to catch up on the latest infomercials.

What kind of whack jobs buy this stuff, anyway?

I’ve never actually seen it advertised during the day. They must cater strictly to the red-eye demographic assuming that only those suffering from serious sleep deprivation would ever purchase the craptactular assortment of items being peddled.

But I’ll admit that, in the predawn hours, I am vulnerable, and at times have almost been convinced that I can’t live without a food vacuum sealer that will turn my leftover pot roast into birthday gifts.

And Christy and Chuck have nearly persuaded me that a Total Gym, with all its versatile settings, is exactly what I need to be featured in the next Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. It conveniently slides under the bed for storage, which is where it would remain after a single use until exhumed by archaeologists.

I have also learned that if I want to be a teenager again, I need only to invest in the Tai Cheng video for seniors. In just 90 days I’ll have fewer aches and pains, more balance, agility, and if I play my cards just right, a real shot at competing as a gymnast in the summer Olympics.

Sure, there have been a handful of times that I’ve really been tempted to buy something. One time, I had my credit card out and was prepared to order the magic NutriBullet until I realized that it’s only for making smoothies.

Lying awake in the middle of the night, I try to imagine what it’s like to be a sleeper. But since I’ll probably never know, I just pull my Snuggie a little closer and, instead, dream of all the money I’m going to make using my new real estate videos.

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