23 November, 2005 Temperature: 27 degrees
Sleep deprivation affects me in strange ways. Like anyone else, it makes me irritable and depressed. But sometimes, when I realize that the bad movie is not going to end for awhile, I go to a sort of “battle stations” condition in my mind.
Captain Cognizance climbs into his comfy chair on the bridge of the USS Gary. Here he calmly issues orders to various extremities, and assumes a sort of detached command of the organism intended to get us to a safe harbor, where we can stand-down in a controlled loss of consciousness. Pain is noted, then ignored, and each separate task is isolated and dealt with in order of priority, one at a time. It is a discipline I think I developed in Marine Corps bootcamp, and some of my fellow jarheads probably know what I mean. I have read where Ironbutt Rally riders experience a similar phenomenon during a thousand-mile day.
Last night, on the ride home from school, I was definitely in this “limp-home” mode. I had only slept a couple of hours on Monday night, tossing and turning with too many things going through my mind at once. It was like one of those special sessions of congress, where everyone wants to debate a different issue and nothing gets resolved. It’s impossible to sleep with all these voices in my head. (Nudge-nudge… “Ya see? He really IS crazy!”)
But now I’m mixing metaphors, and that’s never good.
The point is, I rode home late at night, on bad roads through worse neighborhoods, on a cute little motor-scooter, in this depleted condition. I wasn’t nearly as alert as I should have been, and I was lucky nothing quick and bad happened. It was one wheel in front of the other, stopsign to stoplight, all the way home.
The high point of my evening was explaining the absence of my homework to my instructor, who got a good chuckle out of the story and gave me twenty-percent credit for my missing papers. This is fine, since all I have to do is pass the course anyway.
This morning I awoke a couple of hours too early. I had forgotten to reset my alarm to catch up on my sleep, and I knew those hours were now lost. Once my eyes were focused, I found I was looking at my Darth Vader-esque helmet, which I had set upon my dresser. I could hear it breathing. Then it spoke:
“Your powers are weak, old man.”
“Oh, shut up, you sinister brain bucket.”, I croaked.
The Baron and I rode the usual empty streets in the early morning darkness. I worked for about six hours, and fell asleep at my computer. When my eyes opened, my finger was resting on the Return key, which was doing funny things with our database program. I left early, went straight home, and took a nap.
So here we are at the start of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Winter in Minnesota is letting me down. I had hoped to be struggling with snow and ice right about now. My Kenda knobbies came by Fed Ex today, and I hope to get them installed before Monday. (Thanks Laura!) Then the Baron and I will be ready for anything… I hope. For now, I’m going to settle into my sofa, with a cold beverage in one hand and the TV remote welded to the other. It’s time for a little R&R.