Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day Sleeper

When I first met and fell in love with Andy in the fall of 1992, I was a freshman in college living 100 miles away from him and he was unemployed, living with his cousin, one of my best friends, who worked as the overnight jock at the only rock radio station in town.

They were day sleepers. Clearly.

I, on the other hand, was a solid early to bed, early to riser. Most of my classes started at 8 a.m. My school day done no later than 2 in the afternoon. Beyond that, I'd always enjoyed the early mornings...the quiet, the peace I felt while I savored the loneliness of dawn.

Those first few months of college though, I learned to appreciate the night. I loved feeling blanketed by the darkness, enveloped in the tender moments of first love, while drinking gallons of Mountain Dew and swallowing Jet Alert caffeine pills to stay awake so I could keep up with Andy and his shenanigans.

A typical weekend would start at 6:30 a.m. Friday morning. Class, a break, another class. I'd be out of school by noon and, my car already packed for the weekend, would leave straight from campus to head due north toward the Colorado/Wyoming border...toward the ever blowing wind and sleep-deprived love...pulling up in front of The Book and Record Exchange above which they lived just in time for coffee with my boys. There would be no sleep for me that night. There were conversations and arguments, card games and graffiti, kisses and be had. As the sky would lighten, we'd sit curled up in front of the southeast facing windows to watch the pink of the sunrise. He'd sing me our song. He'd read me a story. I would kiss him goodnight and take my leave to see my mom for a few hours, to nap for a couple of hours, before rising mid-afternoon to see him once again.

I would arrive back in Denver mid-afternoon on Sunday exhausted and content to resume my early to bed routine. So it goes. So it goes.

With Andy, with N8, with Goliath...with Noodle.

I've always felt like an early riser in a sea of Day Sleepers.

You see, I've never been romantically involved with anyone who wasn't a night owl and I've often suspected our opposite sleep habits played a hand in many a break up. It's hard to connect with someone who sleeps while you're awake and vice versa.

And then, a couple of years ago, something changed. Maybe it's age. Maybe it's the cumulative impact of the late nights dabbling in the club culture to which many of my friends subscribe. I don't know. All I know is that my sleep needs have shifted more toward day sleeping much the same way my body's center of gravity has shifted so that I'm always just a tad bit off balance.

Regardless of the reason, recently I asked to modify my work schedule so that I was no longer reporting to work at 6:30 a.m. I realized much of my anxiety in the morning stemmed from knowing I hadn't slept enough as a 9 o'clock bedtime didn't feel realistic without hours of tossing and turning. So now I report at 8:30. It's nice. I like it better.


I took yesterday off as a planned personal day because I had shit to get done. And then, Thursday night, because I wasn't working the next day, shenanigans were afoot. I, without effort, stayed awake until 4:30 a.m. and only went to bed then because I had to do a very few things late in the day.

Last night then, I was yawning my fool head off around midnight and considered heading toward bed when even more shenanigans presented themselves via a text from my upstairs neighbor. She and I parted ways 'round 2:30. I didn't go to bed though. By then, I was wide awake and my fingers itched to write. So write I did. I wrote several pages on a project I'd wanted to start. And then I may or may not have instigated a middle-of-the-night e-mail conversation with Noodle (shoosh, really, I'm serious. Shoosh!).

The next thing I knew, the sun was coming up and I hadn't yet slept.

So I sang myself our song.

And I read myself a story.

And then I kissed myself goodnight.

And went to sleep.

All the while knowing, as much as I want to...

I can't be a day sleeper. Not right now. There are no allowances for a day sleeper in my current employment situation.

So, as much as I don't want to on a Saturday night when Alameda is in town and performing at the Hi Dive, as much as I don't want to when friends are throwing a St. Patrick's Day party, I forced myself to get out of bed at noon and didn't allow myself a nap or evening coffee. I'm in my pajamas and will make myself go to bed at 11.

I hate it.


Wanna rock and roll all night.

And sleep the day away.

But I'm a grown up. Uh...mostly. Unless there are shenanigans afoot.

Written (primarily) for the GBE 2 prompt "Shenanigans" but also because it's on my mind as Alameda gets ready to take the stage and I'm at home pouting.


Gaelyn said...

Oh grow up! Someday you'll be able to stay up all you want, if able, and sleep all, or more than, you want.

I'm a day person. Neither early or too late. In fact, I like when my partner is a get up early person so they can have quiet time. Then go to bed early so I can have my quiet time.

Very cool that work accommodated you on the early mornings. Now, go to bed, and stop sniveling.


Elizabeth said...

Great piece :)

I am a night owl, always have been. My mom was amazed by a baby I would not wake up until 8:30 or 9 am and even then I would lay in my crib for 15-20 minutes. She would hear me over the baby monitor playing with my crib toys and talking to myself. She, the morning person, would usually come in and get me before I began fussing. haha. I firmly believe it was my night-owl tendancies that lead to a bad case of Mono my senior year.

danneromero said...

a day sleeper. i like that. i wish i could be one, sometimes. sometimes i wish i would just fall asleep when i'm feeling very tired, but i don't. i can't. my mind won't let me. even if i was up late the night before. nice post, jane.

gavinsca said...

Be comfortable in've earned it. There are tortoises and there are hares, there are late risers and there are greet-the-sun types. There is little or nothing inherently better about either inclination. Deciding to be both (when you're not 20 and can go days without sleep) is a fool's errand. If you want to tourist the other side, fine - just like visiting any other culture.

Jenn and Casey said...

I used to work overnights and be a day sleeper, it wasn't my cup of tea! I've always been a morning person. I suspect your life is chock full of shenanigans! ;)

Unknown said...

I can only sleep at night. If the sun is out, I might as well get up because I won't be sleeping. Great post Jane!


Lucy said...

Here is hoping that sooner rather than later you can be a day sleeper! It is nice to finally be able to go with the flow, sometimes I have a late night but I am mostly an early riser but not super early, 7:00 am is good for me and I like to be in bed around 11:00pm.

alienbody said...

Sometimes this whole 'grown up and responsible' thing sucks donkey parts. I love being up late, late into the night when the world is quiet and you can hear ghosts breathing, but...then again...watching the sun chase shadows from the nooks and crannies of the world is also lovely. I just get too tired to stay up late and I CANNOT nap during the day, ugh. Your post has given me an idea for my own are always so inspiring!

Crack You Whip said...

I don't know what is happening to me. I can't sleep at night, but the problem is my house is full of skylights(even my bedroom) so it is like living in a lightbulb all day. It's not hot, jut bright.

I haven't been up to any "shenanagins" so maybe I just need to wear myslf out! This was a great post:)

cdnkaro said...

I'm with gavinsca on this one. Loved the post. I'm not a day sleeper sadly. I worked at a huge club at one point and Fridays and Saturdays I went to bed around 4 am but I could only survive because it was just for 2 days. I've always just said "f*ck it" and gone to bed around midnight because I value my sleep way too much! Unless, of course, there are shenanigans afoot. Thanks for sharing:)

p.s. listening to the podcast. Multitasking...

@NativeMikeAdams said...

I'm the opposite, I am naturally a night owl, but having three kids has forced me to get up in the morning and go to bed (often) at a reasonable hour. I'm also terribly lacking in sleep. Good post!

Laine Griffin said...

I used to be a day sleeper. Although it was a fun time of my life, I'm surprised I survived.

Masked Mom said...

I am not sure what sort of sleeper I am if left to my natural devices. There have been periods when I deliberately and deliciously rose at 5 a.m. so I could have the house to myself (as a teenager), but since then my schedule has pretty much been dictated by grown-up crap. (And crap it feels like most days.) Right now, I work 3:30 to 11:30 p.m. four days a week and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the fifth. That early morning kicks my ass every week because I am now accustomed to staying awake until 2 or 3 every night and unable to sleep much before then. Waaaaaah. Being a grown-up sucks. :)

Celeste Neumann said...

Advice imparted to a teenage girl in my sailing club who became Hessian's Vice Mistress in 470 skiffs. She had 22 piercings and half of her hair was dyed bright red, and she sported a spiked dog collar:
"Simone, becoming an adult is a two-edged sword. Finally you can do as you please. Neither your mum or your dad tells you to 'do your homework' or 'go to bed' or 'he's going to be your boyfriend over my dead body'. You can do it all. The problem is - you figure out very quickly, you can't afford to."

Margi said...

Mm. I'm just a really good sleeper. Day, night, whatevs. I just like to. A lot.