Tag Archives: asleep

He says he’s not narcoleptic

My friend Hayo gets so tired, he’s always falling asleep everywhere. He swears it’s not narcolepsy or anything that serious, and I’m inclined to believe him. Mostly because I’ve only ever seen narcoleptics on TV, and so I’m guessing that my entire outlook on the narcoleptic community is nothing more than a mash-up of people dozing off face-first into their bowls of soup, just over-the-top depictions of people trying to go about their normal lives, playing horseshoes, carrying a giant tray of eggplant parmesan, hang-gliding, always falling asleep at that perfect moment of comic implausibility.


But he falls asleep on the train, always on the train. I’ve never had that problem. My body has a hard enough time letting its guard down to fall asleep when I’m alone in my bed at night. But on a crowded car? Full of strangers?

“Hayo, where are you? I thought we were supposed to hang out after work?” I used to leave voicemails on his phone after waiting for a half an hour or so by myself at the bar where we were supposed to meet up. “Rob, I’m so sorry,” he’d call me later in the evening. “You’ll never believe what happened.”

Maybe the first time I didn’t believe it. And then the third or the fourth or the fifth time, I totally didn’t believe it. I’d think, really? You’re going to pull the old sorry-I-didn’t-show-I-fell-asleep-on-the-train excuse six times in a row? No, and it got to the point where I wouldn’t bother making plans with Hayo, not unless I was with him the whole time.

“You want to grab a drink?” he’d ask me, and I’d have to follow him around the whole time, making sure to wake him up three or four stops before we got to wherever it was that we were going. I found that out through a little bit of trial and error, that while he’d fall asleep almost instantly, it took quite a bit of rousing not only to wake him up, but to keep him in a sustained state of not being asleep long enough for us to get off the train when we were supposed to.

And I don’t even know why I put up with it for as long as I did, maybe there was some part of me that believed his story. Either way, after watching him nod off right in front of me, after I got off the train those first two or three times, sure that he had to be faking it, unable to believe that a sane human being would willfully miss their stop several times in a row, I came to believe that there was something going on, that maybe he really was constantly falling asleep.

Now that I’m fleshing it out like this, I guess, yeah, I guess it does sound a little like narcolepsy. Again, I hope I’m not offending any narcoleptics. It’s like, I can imagine how annoying it must be to actually have a disease or a condition, and to have it completely misrepresented in popular culture. Like schizophrenia, right, I remember when I was a kid watching TV, schizophrenia was basically multiple personality disorder. Which isn’t the case, right?

Anyway, one time I decided that I wouldn’t wake Hayo up, but I’d stay on the train with him, and just kind of watch how things would normally progress if nobody were riding along with him. And it was just totally crazy. This guy, he was sitting there, his head bobbing up and down as the train rumbled along. There’s no way that that could have been comfortable. The whole whiplash thing should have been a natural wakeup. But stop after stop, the loudspeaker would announce the destination, there’d be that really loud, “ding-dong” as the doors closed, and Hayo was just totally out.

And after a while, after like two or three hours, the train started looping back again in the other direction. I waited for my stop and looked at Hayo before I made a break for it. Should I wake him up? I couldn’t. Nothing really made sense. And when he called me the next day, it was the same, “Hey man, sorry about yesterday, I must have fallen asleep on the train.” And I was just like, “Nah, it’s cool Hayo, you were probably just tired man. Don’t worry about it, all right? Just maybe, just be careful out there, all right man? Just maybe keep your wallet and cell phone in your back pocket from now on, cool?” And I had to stop answering his calls. I just couldn’t count on him, as a friend, for anything really. Because I’m serious, this guy went out, and he was just out.

I’m still half asleep

I’m having one of these days where, despite the fact that I slept a solid eight hours last night, I can’t seem to really wake up. Right now, I’m writing this sentence, it’s taking me about ten percent of everything that I’ve got to string these words together, all while the other ninety percent is fighting this huge battle just to keep my eyes from closing shut under their own weight. Every time I blink, I’m getting more and more worried that I’m not going to be able to muster the energy necessary to open them back up.

I don’t know how to explain it. Like I said, last night’s sleep was pretty decent. It was better than decent. But waking up was such a struggle. If I didn’t have to use the bathroom, I’d probably still be laying there, comatose, deaf to the sounds of my alarm clock ringing in the periphery of my consciousness.

I struggled to my feet. I went downstairs and thought, coffee, I need coffee. That’ll wake me up. And I made a pot, I drank like three cups. I felt the caffeine doing something, my heart rate picked up, my leg started tapping violently against the floor. But I still wanted to go back to bed.

So I did, I closed my eyes thinking, all I have to do is lay down for a little bit, and once my brain realizes that, thanks to all of that coffee, I won’t be able to go back to sleep, it’ll have no choice but to fully wake up and commit to getting this day started. But then I looked at my phone and it was eleven-thirty.

I’m still tired. At this point I’ve had probably over ten hours of non-consecutive sleep, but I still feel like I could hit the pillow and be good for the rest of the day. I’m getting flashbacks of high school here. I’m having physical memories of what my body felt like all throughout my adolescence.

There wouldn’t be a single day where I’d get eight hours of sleep. It was always this huge fight to get up in the morning. My parents would have to scream me awake. And I’m not trying to say that my parents were being overly harsh or anything, but it was the only way I’d get out of bed. I imagine it to be what people feel like coming to after having been trapped in a really long coma. I’d hear voices, I’d have this vague knowledge that my time for sleeping had come to an end, but I couldn’t really do much more than turn over, let out a muffled, “All right! OK! I’m up!” lying through my teeth, hoping that my parents would leave me alone for another two or three minutes of precious sleep.

And then I’d finally stand up, I’d go to the bathroom and take a shower. Sometimes I’d fall asleep sitting on the side of the tub waiting for the water to get hot. Other times I’d go through my whole morning routine, I’d brush my teeth, get dressed, and head downstairs for breakfast, all before blinking and realizing that I had never really gotten up in the first place, that my whole morning had thus far been a dream.

I always hate it when I hear certain people talk about how they only need four or five hours a night. They’ve got to be lying. Every once in a while I’ll have to get up for something really early, and I’ll have one of those four or five hour nights. I feel like I’m half dead, like I’m pissed off, my eyes want nothing more than to stay shut, and every instinct is telling me to look for the nearest cushion, somewhere where I can curl up into the fetal position and remain there unconscious for the next three or four hours.

I’ve got to go to work tonight. I know exactly how it’s going to go down. I’m going to drag my feet through the whole shift, just trying my best to get through the night without anybody commenting about how slow I’m moving, or that I look really beat. And then around an hour before closing, I’m going to get a kick of energy. For some reason, my body is going to decide at around ten or eleven that now is a good time to snap into action.

And I’ll be screwed. I’ll go home and I’ll be wired, unable to relax, incapable of doing the one thing that I wanted so desperately to do all day long, to go to sleep. It’s going to affect tomorrow’s wake-up time, it’s never going to stop. I’m going to be half-asleep for the rest of my life.