This week, Laura asked:
Here’s a question you may interpret however you wish: name five most unpleasant awakenings you’ve experienced!
These, unfortunately, have been many and varied. I think the five worst were these:
- Worst of all, was after a horrible, awful, dreadful weekend-long fever. I had nightmarish dreams of one of the girls who was perhaps expressing too much obnoxious interest in me, who gutted me and feasted on my innards. I dreamed of Italian condottieri attacking me in my home, subtitled in my mind in English. I dreamed of Marxist and Capitalist mice levitating and arguing in my kitchen.
And when I woke up, I found I had sweated so much that the sheets and mattress on my futon were soaked, and the air was so humid and the room so hoteven with only normal, custodian-regulated heating levelsthat all of my mack-tacked posters had fallen off the walls. I was weak and shaky and could barely lift my arms, or stand on my two legs, when I rose from the bed.
But the worst, absolute worst, is that when you have a bad enough fever, when you’re vomiting and have the runs, and then you sleep for two days straight, you lose control of any and all waste that passes out of your system. It’s extremely unpleasant.
- The other day, someone observed, looking at my sleeping nephew, that the life of a baby involves a lot of falling asleep and waking up in a totally strange, different place. This is something babies accept quite easily, but for adults it isn’t often so smoothly taken in.
In high school, I used to spent a lot of time sleeping in my friend Mike’s car. We were best friends, and we spent hours and hours talking as he drove around Saskatoon by night, in the darkness. Often I would fall asleep in his car, a state which would pass over me as it might a narcoleptic. I was simply not a night owl like him, at the time, and my early awakenings (see point #3, below) made iot very difficult to stay up late at night.
Well, one time he pulled into a gas station, self-serve, and proceeded to fill up the car, and drive away. When he was inside the station, paying, I woke up, and was in shock to be alone in a car in a strange place. When he returned to the car, I was cussing in fear, and then I calmed down and commented, “I didn’t know where you were…” in the most plaintive tone possible, before settling back down into sleep. I vaguely recalled all of this when he later told me about it.
- Every morning, I went to school (meaning high school and also the first year and a half of University) at around 7:30am, because…
Well, because my father always left for work around 7:00am. Being that he rose much earlier than that, it was always easy for him to do so, but he insisted on giving me rides to school, something I appreciated because I was always short of money.
But pay I did, I paid in lost sleep. See, I am a heavy-sweating person. When I sleep, I sweat. I need a shower. I need a shower so as to feel comfortable starting a new day. But I would always wake as late as possible. So often, my father would end up poking my door open, commenting loudlywhich never stirred meand then throwing something at me informing me that he’d be leaving the house at 7:25am sharp. Or 7:15am, when it was 7:05. The times would change a little bit everyday, and every day I would be oblivious to the coming surprise.
So finally I’d rise, with five minutes to shower, and I rush rush rush and hop into the freezing-cold car or van just in time to get a ride to school, two hours before my classes started.
Ah well, it was time in the practice room, at least in University. But the one day, when my winter boot thunked against my head, it was pretty hard to want to wake up and go outside into the cold. That, that was a bad morning.
I should note that it was probably an onerous task for my father, who made our lunches, to wake me every morning. For some reason, alarm clocks just were not a part of my family culture. I myself only discovered them after I moved out.
- Waking up on the subway, about eight or nine stops past my own, on the last train, late at night, in winter, in Montreal, with no extra money, was unpleasant. Brrrrr.
- This last one is a different kind of awakening: when you realize you’ve wasted years on feeling like total crap, when you realize you’ve let something control your life which didn’t need to, but which was demoniacally hard to fight off, I guess most people would feel relief. To vanquish depression is a great achievement. But me, I was more aware of all that lost time, all that unnecessary pain, all that wasted life that I could neverand can neverhave back. How unpleasant is that knowledge.
The only succor was (and is) knowing I probably have a lot of time left ahead of me. That and slowly feeling much, much better.
Ah well, I haven’t experienced anything as nasty as any of these in years.
Reason to rejoice.
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