Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Feeding the 'Fly

I guess it’s not really exactly a secret around here that this would not be one of the, shall we say, more uneventful, tranquil times in my life.

Breaking up, etc. like Neil Sedaka says, is indeed hard to do. Even when it is the lord emperor of the underworld you are leaving behind. Even I occasionally find myself missing the Sunday morning horn sharpening sessions, or remembering that special Christmas when I surprised him with a shiny new titanium pitchfork.

And if the breaking up was all that was going on in my life it would be rough, no doubt. Thing is, it isn’t the only pressing difficult life issue that I’m dealing with.

Taken all together, my issues are a little much at the moment. And when life gets to be too much for me? The first thing that suffers is my ability to get a good night’s sleep.

I know people that can function on little or no sleep just as if they’d gotten a full eight hours (my Mom). I know people who regularly sleep no more than three or four hours a night and don’t even need a nap the next day. Just a few hours of sleep a night, in fact, is all they ever require.

Let me assure you. I am not one of those people.

I am a person who craves needs and REQUIRES a reasonable amount of sleep on which to function. Anything less than seven hours is a problem the next day and if I can’t pay off that sleep debt the very next night? Fuggedaboudit. I’m worthless. It’s like a have the flu. I ache. I’m cranky. I feel nauseous. I can’t focus.
I mentioned this to my doctor at a routine check-up, the fact that I was having trouble sleeping, and pronto! Lunesta prescription. You know the commercial; the one with the happy little night butterfly flitting around everyone’s face as they smile in their sleep? Yep, that’s Lunesta.

At first, I was dubious.

Dubious? And also very, VERY tired.

I took the Lunesta. It’s a small, innocent looking blue pill. What could it hurt? And if I had to guess? I’d say that I, too, was smiling in my sleep. Because friends? Lunesta WORKS. I was asleep within thirty minutes and woke up the next morning feeling just like James Brown,

I feeeeel good (wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa)…

Oh, yah. Me and Lunesta? We were obviously twins accidentally separated at birth. The Magic Butterfly stayed perched on my nightstand from there on out next to a glass of water. We had our nightly routine. Hop in the bed, set the TV sleep timer for 30 minutes, pop the butterfly, and give the dog a last pat on the head, over and out.

Next morning?

I feeeeel good (wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa)…

And so on. Sleep was no longer an issue on my radar screen. With the Magic Butterfly, sleep could be expected. Counted on. Planned for. Enjoyed. Just like God intended.

During this time there came a night when I had the chance to meet a very, VERY sexy celebrity. Someone whose name you would know and recognize if I said it, someone so HOT, and so talented, that I’ll bet you’ve got at least one of his CD’s in your collection right now (I have three).

The trouble was, Mr. Smokin’ Hot could only be met at around 1:00 a.m. I had a packed schedule the next day, and as you may or may not know, The Butterfly requires one to devote a FULL eight hours to sleep once it is ingested.
It was the boy or the butterfly.

What’s a girl to do?

I’ll tell you what I did:

I feeeeel good (wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa)…

That’s right, me and the Magic Butterfly, man; we were a combination that could not be denied. We were like peas and carrots! Martin and Lewis! Bogey and Bacall! Yen and yang!

But then.

I woke up as usual the other morning. The sun was shining, I was rested. I started to hop out of the bed:

I feeeeel goo..(hey, wait a minute here!)

As I sat up, I felt a strange sensation beneath my hands. It felt like, well, it felt just like crumbs on my sheets?! I looked around and immediately spotted an empty bag of puffed Wheat Thin whole grain chips on my bed.

For a fleeting second I thought, Holy sh!t a strange man sneaked into my bedroom last night and ate whole grain chips in my bed while I was asleep! OHMYGOD!

Then I had another thought. I glanced down at the dog that was still snoring away. Nope, no, I don’t think she could have done it without waking me up.
And then I thought, Would an interloper really be eating WHOLE GRAIN crackers in my bed! No, no OF COURSE NOT! Intruders don’t care about FAT GRAMS, for God’s sake! No! A criminal would surely be eating Pork Rinds or at the very least, Funyuns!

And then, No, I myself bought Wheat Thin whole grain snack crackers myself just last week, I had eaten most of them, but there had been a few left in the…!

And it was then that I had it: that vague, fleeting memory.

I suddenly remembered, almost like watching on a TV screen with fuzzy reception, getting up in the night and taking the crackers from the pantry. Then there was a blank time, where I didn’t remember anything, and then the rest came back to me. IT WAS I WHO HAD EATEN THE WHEAT THIN WHOLE GRAIN CHIPS IN THE BED. And, dear God, I was laying down when I did it!

It was a night eating free-for-all!

I have become one of those sleep-eating people like those in the news a few years ago? Remember? They had the hidden camera footage on 20/20 of a disoriented woman stumbling around her kitchen in a somnambulistic state in the middle of the night unconsciously taking food from her kitchen like a zombie in Night of the Living Dead?

Hey! THAT’S ME! (clucky chicken!)

(Except, on 20/20, I think the woman had been taking Ambien.)

I involuntarily envisioned a hidden camera in my pantry and John Stossel describing the situation in hushed, grave tones.

And then I called a pharmacist friend and described the problem.
My pharmacist friend asked me what sort of food I kept in the house and whether or not there was a huge cache of, say, M&M’s around that I could potentially access in a nocturnal feeding frenzy. When I told her I didn’t really keep sweets around, she said that perhaps I should stop worrying about it—so you ate a few crackers? (She said.) So what?

Another friend suggested I keep a small bowl of tortilla chips next to the bed in the hope that a pre-measured, reasonable portion might satisfy my night time craving (and also prevent me from tripping over something and hurting myself during my semi-conscious travels).

I myself considered tucking into bed with a Ziploc bag full of chopped celery pinned to my oversized tee-shirt.

In the end, though, I went ahead and downed the Magic Butterfly as usual last night without taking any food-related precautions. Probably it’s just a one-time thing, I told myself.

And this morning?

Well, this morning I stepped out of bed and immediately felt my foot crunch onto a plastic container that USED to house about a half a cup of cashews.

Apparently, the Magic Butterfly is partial to salt.

No wonder all those people are smiling in their beds in the commercials! They’ve all just consumed all the salty treats in the house in their sleep and their lips are pulling away from their gums from sheer dehydration! Little does the unsuspecting viewing public realize, there’s an empty can of Pringles beneath the pillow of the “smiling” sleeper.

So here I am. It’s bedtime. All my salty treats are gone. Because I ate them in my sleep.

Do I ride the Magic Butterfly? And, if I do, what happens when there are no salty snacks to be had in the pantry? An unconscious drive to the Shell Station down the road for Cheetos? Do I lumber all stiff-legged and zombie-like over to the neighbor’s in my mismatched PJ’s and frighten them into turning over their Rolled Gold Pretzels?

Or do I spend a completely sleepless night and greet the morning exhausted but triumphant and raise a trembling fist toward the heavens as dawn breaks over the West End and say,

“As God as my witness! I’ll NEVER eat cashews in my sleep AGAIN!”

(Hell, I don’t know. Guess you’ll have to tune into my next post.)


ChristaD said...

Super-fantastic post! Love it.

William F. Renzulli said...

So your nights are as crazy as your days. At least you're consistent (as well as an engaging writer).

Tim said...

OMG that is funny, scary and sad all at the same time. I would be so freaked out.

BTW, I hear it is a pretty wild trip if you take one of those and then purposely stay awake. Not that I've ever done that...

Patience-please said...

As long as you stick to bagged snacks. Let's not try to work the oven in your sleep...
Most blogworthy - perfectly written!!! Thanks for the great read-

Paprikapink said...

I hate that damned butterfly.

My then-7-y-o daughter saw the Lunesta ad. Later, at bedtime, she told me that one day she would love to try one of those pills so that she could have that butterfly come to her. She would only take a tiny bit, she said.

I'm gonna have to watch that girl.

keena said...

So, are you sleeping allright?