The intricacies of perturbed sleep

2020-09-22 @Blog

It is one of those days I’ve unintentionally been awake since 3AM. As in most such cases, some brain faculties take a toll, some hardly alter, while some see an improvement.

Now, as with any psychology study, I tend to find scientific rationale behind these Neuro-phenomena dreadfully, wretchedly, irredeemably boring. Hence I’ll appeal to my own pseudo-science.

Let’s begin with the improvement. The mind acquires a certain lethargic aspect, in part responsible for this kind of writing unfolding here before you. Rarely otherwise would I introduce an argument with my time of awakening. I pity such cheap shots, in a way that I pity a presentation (whatever it be) that feels obliged to inform the audience of how little of practice it underwent.

In this lethargic mode, some part of the mind continues to sleep, or even dream. Some of it remains tapped into the subconscious, which may or may not produce strange bouts of reasoning, both written and oral. I’m almost fearful to take responsibility.

Never in any other state would I read the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard in a futile attempt to regain sleep. This too you might view as an improvement. Insufficient sleep can expand your literary canon in strange directions.

And greatest of all, once I actually take meta-recognition of this wonderful, yet slippery state, I drop any expectations for the day, something that I’d gladly do any other, with like impunity.

Most biological and motor functions remain unaffected. I can still plow a field and probably wield a tractor. I can still harvest crop, prepare porridge and stew, and even differentiate the two.

I wouldn’t trust myself on the road with other human drivers, but I’m reluctant to assume the wheel with even a perfectly normal frame of mind.

Otherwise, there isn’t much work I couldn’t perform with the normal efficacy: visualize playing Jazz violin left-handed during morning meditation, write bad trochaic heptameter, operate an amateurish missile silo, and measure precisely five sixths tablespoon of ground coffee.

Alas, my downfall is the increased mood variability. Normally the ups and downs of my humour are fairly subdued. I’d receive news of a city-wide fire breakout with the same countenance as news of an economic bailout.

Yet in this augmented state, if you were to address me, a subtle difference in the pitch of your voice, your pulse or your body temperature could, with equal probability, cause me to nominate you for county elections as force-feed you a dead bird.

I did have an awful dream. I am at a social event and encounter an old friend I’d not seen in a very long time. As we proceed to shake hands, the friend throws the glance somewhere off to the side, already saluting some other ill-bred fool. Meanwhile, his hand continues to mechanically and convulsively shake mine, as if there wasn’t an arm or body attached to it.

Sometimes I’m glad there’s a pandemic.

Questions, comments? Connect.