How insomnia became my friend

the moon

For a few years now, I’ve had this guy come around every night. He crawls into bed with me and talks in my ear about all kinds of stupid things, like how to rearrange the furniture in my living room to maximize space, what groceries I should buy for the week – even if my fridge is full, or that maybe I should trim my hair to shoulder length. No, make that really short and bold, or wait, maybe highlights would do the trick. He asks me when I’m going to finish the 2000 page tome on Christianity I’ve been using to fall asleep every night (thanks Insomnia, I was actually doing really well with that thing until you came in).

Did I remember to buy the kids’ school stuff, he wants to know, because don’t forget, they’re starting up again in two weeks. I’ve got tons of time, I remind him. Sure, Insomnia replies, that’s what they all say. Plus you’re running low on shampoo. And you have four Facebook messages you haven’t replied to yet. I replied by email, I protest. Yeah, Insomnia says, but did it work? Do people know when you’ve email-replied to their Facebook messages? Did you ask them if they’d got the messages? No, I guess not.

We discuss the meaning of life. Specifically, mine. Because, says Insomnia, what are you doing, exactly? What is your grand master plan, and how do you expect to achieve it when you’re thinking about living room furniture and hairdos all the time? I tell him I don’t think about that stuff all the time – only at 3 in the morning, when he’s visiting. Give me a break, I say, I’m just trying to get some beauty sleep. Oh, he replies, beauty sleep. Like that’s going to help you achieve your goals.

Well yeah, I say, I think it might. So could you go away now and let me get on with it? You wish, he says. But come on, admit it, we’ve still got a lot to talk about. Like how you worry too much. I wasn’t worried! Yeah, you were. Why do you think we’re talking about this? You weren’t really sleeping just now. You were listening for intruders.

I was not. Yes, you were. It’s a good thing I’m here to keep you company. If someone tries to break in I’ll hand you the phone so you can call 911. I can get it myself, thanks. If I weren’t here, says Insomnia, you’d sleep right through the break-in. They’d take your passport and your wallet and then you’d be stateless. Oh, come on, I say. That’s really not something I need to worry about. Imagine, Insomnia goes on, what it would be like to go through life without your papers, without any way to prove that you are who you say you are. There are ways, I protest. There’s Google. Face recognition whatchamacallit. People who will sign affidavits… Oh, just go away.

Hey, I’m here for you, Insomnia says. You might as well accept it.

Alright, alright, I say, flinging a pillow to the side of the bed. Just lie there quietly and let me sleep. We’ll talk again tomorrow night. You’re a bit of a drama queen, but you do make some good points…


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