Something to think about/Wendy Schultz
There you are, sound asleep and then suddenly, you’re not. It’s 3 a.m.— do you know where your thoughts are?
There you are, sound asleep and then suddenly, you’re not. It’s 3 a.m.— do you know where your thoughts are?If you’re like me, they’ve crept out of your dreams and are clamoring for your attention. Your body parts are still asleep, and some part of your mind wants to stay asleep, but your thoughts want to party.It’s at this point the part of my mind that wants to go back to sleep tries its sluggish best to take control. First, it tries not to think at all, just drown out those noisy thoughts with soft, warm, sleepy feelings. No dice — the internal noise ratchets up from insistent mumbling to definite words. Sleepy Brain then becomes a bouncer, attempting to keep all pesky thoughts moving so they don’t land and take root. If they are shunted off into hyperspace as soon as they hit the ether, maybe that warm, soft, all encompassing sleep will return and take over.A few thoughts escape the bouncer and present themselves front and center. Did I put the defrosting chicken back in the refrigerator? Gotta remember to call Dad tomorrow.It’s only two thoughts and Sleepy Brain knows that if it acknowledges the thoughts and promises to remember them first thing in the morning and take action, sometimes they’ll be satisfied and go away. Sleep will come to fill their empty space.Not tonight. Thoughts of defrosting chicken grow arms and grab my attention. What if it’s all thawed out and growing salmonella? We could die. Maybe I should go check. By this time, Sleepy Brain has come fully awake and now there is a conversation.No, I’m pretty sure I remember putting it back in the refrigerator. Pretty sure, not good enough, do you want to kill your family? Maybe I should get up. I don’t want to get up because then I’ll really be awake. Maybe Bob knows, maybe I should just poke him a little — he might not be asleep. DON’T POKE HIM, THE CHICKEN IS IN THE REFRIGERATOR, YOU PUT IT IN WHEN YOU GOT A BOTTLE OF WATER.Oh yeah. When will I have time to call Dad? Can’t call him before I go to work, he’ll be asleep. Can’t call at lunch because I have a dentist appointment. Did I floss last night? Yes, I flossed but the bathroom sink needs to be scrubbed. I should probably do all the grout too. Maybe I’ll have time on Saturday if I finish that column after I wash the car and trim the herb garden. Jerry or Meg? Eggs, sugar, mushrooms, lettuce, deodorant, tea …By this time, all parts of me are awake and have become captives of my thoughts. I look at the clock. It’s 3:38. I still have two hours of sleep left and I want them. I make a conscious decision to corral all runaway thoughts and redirect them to something boring and non-controversial that might encourage sleep to return. I start redecorating my aunt’s old house, going room by room changing furniture, putting in windows, repainting the walls.It’s working, I can feel my thoughts slowing, becoming mushy and less coherent. I’m yawning — until I get to the master bedroom with that one weird bathroom and the one weird closet and the floor to ceiling windows on one wall. That bathroom was too small and why did Uncle Vic get the closet? Expand the bathroom to one long room. No, they’d each want their own. What if there was one long room with a bath at each end and a big closet in the middle? Then you’d have three doors. It would look strange. What time should I call Dad?…Wendy Schultz is a biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat.