Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sleepwalker

I descend from a long line of sleep walkers, well, okay, one that I know of, my Dad.  The most famous Dad sleepwalking story is the night he woke up outside in the rain on his back in a ditch in his underwear.  Apparently he had sleepwalked out of the house and fell in the ditch that he was digging for the new septic leach field.  After that night, we got a deadbolt and my Mother started locking him in the house when he went to bed.  For him, the sleepwalking peaked in his twenties and by the time he was 30 it had stopped.

My first memory of sleep walking was when I was a kid.  I walked out of my room into the kitchen and was trying to warn my family about the witch who had hijacked the dishwasher.  It was a very hard dream to communicate and I remember my Mother laughing, which made me SO MAD.  Although in retrospect, what else could she have done...

The times I remember sleep walking are usually the times someone wakes me up or I wake myself up.  In high school my room was in the basement and there were no windows so it was very dark.  I woke up one night to find myself out of bed, holding my alarm clock and trying to use it as a flashlight to find the door.  It wasn't very successful, but thankfully prevented me from getting too far...

When T and I were renting a house, before children, I remember getting out of bed and running to the window, grabbing at the mini-blinds and yelling at him to come help me save the kittens that were being strangled in the cords.  Needless to say, he didn't help me, but did wake me up and convince me to go back to bed.  I still remember the urgency of that dream and wonder why he couldn't just get up and help, or pretend to help or just tell me he saved them all so I could go back to sleep without being so disoriented...

The worse thing I ever did was when Jack was born.  He was an infant.  I was dreaming that the house was on fire and I got up, scooped up the sleeping infant and started running down the stairs.  When I got to the bottom I was horrified that I had actually picked up a sleeping baby...a baby that took forever to go to sleep...and now was waking up which meant another hour of nursing...  I have to wonder, what if I didn't wake up and put him in the car and started driving in my sleep...  Luckily, I always wake up before I get too far.  I have never left the house.

For me, the sleepwalking has gotten worse as I get older.  Since moving to this house, I sleep walk a lot.  Thankfully my husband is a light sleeper.  I joke that he sleeps with one eye open, checking on me.  Once I went down stairs and was rummaging in my purse for a ticket (that didn't exist) and he followed me and made me go back to bed.  A lot of times I just talk, or yell, not usually at him, but he is the only one there so he takes it personally...

There is also the wall in the bedroom next to my bed.  I have spent a lot of time sleep walking to the wall.  It is where the secret codes are written (a la A Beautiful Mind), where the conspiracy theories take root, where the garage door code that prevents the destruction of the world resides.  I spend too much time asleep touching this wall, trying to break the codes and patterns, trying to save the world.  Clearly, so far I have been successful!

I also have to be careful of what I watch before bed.  I can not watch any science fiction (the wall loves when I watch science fiction) or crime or police dramas.  Lost was the worst and my husband finally forbid it before bed.  Downton Abbey seems safe enough.  One night we were playing Pandemic which is a board game about saving the world from viral outbreaks (right up my alley, sure!) and I was dreaming that my two friends had figured out my strategy and were going to hide the codes behind the picture on the wall.  I had to stop this!  So I jumped out of bed and proceeded to take the picture off the wall.  Then I started to wake up, and disoriented wandered off into the bathroom to pretend that none of that had happened.

Upon coming back to bed I asked my husband.  "Are you awake".  Him:  "yup".  Me: "did you notice me take a picture off the wall?"  Him:  "yup"  Me:  "Why didn't you SAY something?"  Him: "well, you were being really careful..."  Me (thinking):  "How did you know I wasn't going to crash it over your head??"  Because really, I wouldn't put it past me.  I have no idea why sometimes he intervenes and sometimes he stays silent.  He usually waits a certain amount of time and then will get up to follow me to see what I am up to...   He doesn't understand that I am usually just trying to SAVE THE WORLD.

Last night in the middle of the night, I shook him awake, and demanded he return my glass.  He groaned and told me to stop it, but I knew he had that glass and I wanted it.  I jumped out of bed, yelling at him that I WOULD FIND IT and stumbled into the bathroom where I tried to mesh dreamland with reality.  Sheepishly, I went back to bed.  Him:  "you really have to stop this."  Me:  "you need to stop taking my stuff."  This morning he barely remembered the exchange.  When I asked him why he hasn't been so vigilant of late, he said "the difference is that now I just find you annoying..."

Touche!