back contents next November 30, 1999

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream (On Display)

The InsomniacI am an insomniac.

It doesn't help that I'm also a night owl. For some reason in the wee hours of the morning, there is a spark of creativity or some door in my brain opens and the ideas and work just pours out of me.

There is one downside to it all. In my exhaustion, I have a tendancy to talk to myself in order to keep myself focused. Normally, the conversation goes on in my head during the day.

Okay, now you've got to move the navigation from the cn_administration.html page to the cn_login page.

Right.. right..

But you have to first change the rightnav_print.gif to rightnav_blank_2.gif because you're not printing on this page.

Right.. right.. should I copy the original navigation to the temp file, right? I might need it later.

Oh yes, definitely. Definitely.

In the evening, my mouth, being bored because it has no one to talk to (and has had no one to really talk to for the past several hours of straight coding), decides that it will verbalize all these internal conversations. Just for kicks, I suppose. So, I start talking outloud to myself. Quite loud, in fact, because late at night, my hearing seems to go.

Ugh. Today, I spent 17 hours working because I got pulled from my project with The Soda Company That Must Not Be Named(tm) and placed on the Nearly Impossible Kiosk Project(tm). They needed someone to code HTML and code it fast, so I got temporary transferred into this project.

I couldn't believe it. They had to get the site up by 8am Tomorrow Morning and they had coded one, maybe two HTML pages.

Out of 20.

Like a bat out of hell
-- Meatloaf "Bat Out of Hell"

I started racing to get this stuff done. It was crazy. Absolute chaos, especially since I knew nothing of the project or what goes where with which. I had to rely on guesses. I can't believe what I was able to achieve, though. The site is up and mostly functional. That last part shocks me. I can't believe I helped a site go from just Photoshop screens to partial functionality. The stuff that isn't functional is HTML that just needs functionality to be added. I didn't do most of the functionality bits (that was Lisa's job), but I helped her tweak the DHTML to look right and talked to her about how it should work in theory.

It was an exhausting and exhilarating.

The problems come when I got home. Being so keyed up makes it hard for me to slow down and I am sticken with insomnia. Fairly bad insomnia. It also doesn't help that for the past two nights in a row, I have had difficulty sleeping for one reason or another. On Sunday, I was up tooling around with my new DVD player. On Money, I was up doing some coding. My night owl nature keeps me up to do these things. Throughout the years, I've developed a routine and ritual to help me get through it and to bed. It's been fairly successful.

I start by having a late night snack. I know that food at night keeps most people awake or disturbs their sleep, but I've spent so many nights lying in bed wanting to eat something and thinking about food that I can't sleep. So, I always have something small to nibble on. It could be a bit of chocolate or some milk or crackers with cheese or breadsticks. Something to put into my stomach to tell it, "okay, you're got food. You should be happy!".

Next, I will brush my teeth. On the nights that I think I need an extra kick to sleep, I will wash my face. Cleaning my face with warm water relaxes me and I tend to fall asleep easier. Cold water gets me up in the morning.

I get into bed and then I engage in reading a favorite book or, if I decide to try to sleep in the living room, I would pop a movie I've loved and seen before in the VCR. I pop Star Wars or Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Good Neighbors. Why? Because I've seen these things before so many times that it not only relaxes me further, but the repetition of seeing it helps make me drowsy. Plus, engaging my mind with something enjoyable will get it away from the problems and worries that I had during the day that might affect my sleep. This long coding stretch I had tonight is an example of my mind being occupied with other things and causing me to stay awake. I needed to get the site away from me as quickly as possible, so I read X-Wing Book One: Rogue Squadron.

Some nights, it gets really bad and I can't sleep even though I desperately want to. That's when I bring out the big guns: Vics Vapo-Rub or Ben Gay or Mineral Ice. I will smear the stuff under my nose or on my hands and on my temples. Their volatile natures help close my eyes and relax me. The warmth generated by the Ben Gay soothes me and hopefully, I'll be off to dreamland quickly.

When I start to fall asleep, I tend to be on my side, curled up a little in a fetal position. I stick my feet out from under the blankets, no matter how cold it is because I can't sleep with warm feet. This annoys Mike to no end, since he is extremely anal about his bedsheets and dislikes how I will mess up the bedsheets frequently with my tossing and turning and my "gotta stick my feet out" requirement. When I am asleep, I tend to roll over and sleep on my back. A few times, I will sleep on my tummy, but I end up not sleeping as well or as deeply as I would like.

I almost always dream.

"To be able to fly? To be smoke, or a wolf; to know the night, and live in it forever? That's not so bad. You call us monsters. But when you dream it's of flying, and changing, and living without death."
-- Nightbreed

My dreams tend to come in two flavors: realistic or extreme.

My realistic dreams are dreams that are generally so real that when I finally wake up, I am shocked that I was just dreaming. Many times, I'll work on homework or some bit of code in the dream and then when I wake, I'm upset that I have to "do it over again". Sometimes, things will be completely correct in my dream but I'll spot a strange inconsistency and I'll jolt myself awake. This often happens when I look in my closet. "I don't own a dress like this." Poof, I'm awake.

The extreme dreams take on various forms. Sometimes, they are incredibly violent, featuring people I know getting killed in one bizarre way or another. Most of the time, I watch them be the victim of an accident or I'm part of a game and they end up getting killed trying to solve one of the puzzles. It's very rare that I participate in any of the killing in my dreams.

Sometimes, my dreams are very Freudian in nature. A white house with white furniture having an array of servants and gods and goddesses at my beck and call. I open the back door and I see rockets flying up into the air like watching a NASA takeoff film. I witness a lot of sex in my dreams. Most of the time, I'm not participating: my dreaming mind is definitely voyeristic.

Most of my dreams are puzzles and games. Trapped in a house with doors and keys everywhere and I'm trying to find my way out. Being in a wooden maze, trying to utilize the "left hand" rule to wind my way out of it. Sometimes, it's like a gigantic jungle gym and I've got to find my way around. I tend to wake up at two spots in the puzzle scenario. One is when I'm just about to tackle the last problem and I know that just beyond the door is freedom, the other is when I've solved the puzzle and I'm just about to get my "prize".

Perhaps my prize is being able to "live another day". To wake up from sleep/death. Another day out of the dreamscape. Another night ended.

A Dream Deferred
Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over --
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?


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© Copyright 1999 Eileene Coscolluela