I saw this picture on LOLCATS the other day and laughed. Who doesn’t remember nodding off while pulling an all-nighter studying for a big exam or finishing a term paper? That kind of studying is pretty much in the past for me, but that phrase “spontaneous napping” stuck in my head. Because I’ve been doing a LOT of that lately. And it’s a problem.
My usual morning routine consists of seeing to the needs of the cat and The Wonder Dog and then slowly regaining consciousness with a breakfast bar and mug of tea while I sit on the couch with my laptop and catch up on the news. No, I am not a morning person. And there’s usually something in the news that will kick start my adrenaline. But twice last week I was late for work because I dozed off for a half hour in the middle of a news story. And Saturday? I put the laptop aside to “rest my eyes” a bit and woke up TWO HOURS LATER. Yeah, I’ve been zoning out within an hour after waking up. I’ve even had a tough time keeping my eyes open at work. This is not normal.
No, there’s nothing physically wrong. Believe me, I’ve had more diagnostics done recently than a Formula One racecar. I’m the poster child of good health, if not clean living. I think I understand the problem. I’m just not sure about a solution.
For the past few years, and especially the last twelve months or so, life has been sheer hell. No two ways about it. It’s been crisis after trauma after crisis followed by insurmountable problems, without end. And I’ve had to be on constant high alert to deal with it all.
Seriously, I’ve felt like a captain whose ship is under siege — the mizzen mast is broken, the hold is taking on water, the crow’s nest is on fire and pirates are about to swarm over the sides. And the Death Star is hovering on the horizon. The Spanish Inquisition is (unexpectedly, of course) amassing on the other horizon. Along with storm clouds. There’s no land in sight and we’ve run out of limes. Fresh water is being rationed. Clean socks and underwear are a distant memory. There’s talk of mutiny among what’s left of the crew. And the gunpowder– um, never mind about that. You get the idea.
But now, all of a sudden, the waters have calmed. The sun has come out. There are no longer any pirates climbing my rigging, nor even dark clouds on the horizon. The Death Star has vaporized. The scouting party has returned with news of intelligent civilization willing to share chocolate. Birds are chirping. The crew is sprawled out in deck chairs, sipping drinks with little umbrellas stuck in them, wondering why I still have a pistol in my belt, a vigilant eye trained on the horizon and a knife clenched between my teeth.
My personal defenses have been operating at DEFCON 1 for so long, I’m not sure how to stand down. And yes, I do realize that the US military has never gone to DEFCON 1. Or so they say. But they’ve never had to deal with pirates AND Darth Vader AND the Spanish Inquisition all at the same time, now have they? So they say.
It seems my body is compensating by taking measures into its own hands and shutting down into sleep mode every time I sit quietly for more than a few minutes. Spontaneous napping. If only I were a laptop, there’d be a setting I could adjust.
It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I reassure myself that things are Just Fine now. Apparently, this state of super readiness is impervious to reason. I’m still on high alert. “Employing maximum readiness for imminent or ongoing attack.” As they say. And it’s exhausting. I’ve tried, but my mind can’t seem to let go of the notion that all hell will break loose if I dare to so much as blink.
I know, that’s so wrong. I just don’t know what to do about it.
I want to lounge in that shady spot on deck, feel the warm breeze play through my hair and listen to the gentle lap of waves against the hull while sipping a stupid umbrella drink. Any suggestions as to how I can get this damned knife out from between my teeth?