Harley Hay

Hay’s Daze: Taking things laying down

Some people have a real problem getting to sleep, especially when they’re lying in bed at night. Lately, I seem to have the opposite problem. Often the highlight of my day is my noon-hour nap. Or perhaps my suppertime nap. Or even the nap I have just before bedtime. It’s not that I’m pathologically narcoleptic; I just really enjoy a good snooze.

But I have sympathy for insomniacs. In fact, as I may have mentioned one or two times, one of my favorite jokes is at the expense of poor people who can’t sleep: “Did you hear about the insomniac agnostic dyslexic? He lies awake all night wondering if there really is a Dog.” But, really, the inability to fall asleep is no joke. I mean, what about the unfortunate insomniac that the police detained? She was charged with resisting a rest.

Of course, there are times when all of us lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, begging for sleep whilst the weight of the entire world swirls around in a beehive brain that won’t quit buzzing. But for many, this visitation by the dastardly demons of drowsiness happens far too often. My own Better Half, for example, is not what you’d call a great faller-to-sleep-er. Every couple of weeks or so, she’ll go through a stretch where the sympathetic sirens of siesta are completely AWOL. Then it’s half the night down on the couch for a while, into the kitchen for some warm milk, back to her art room to stare at a jigsaw puzzle with her tired eyes barely open. On nights such as these for a certified periodical insomniac, there’s a lot of mourning before morning.

Thing is, it’s often not the important issues, worldly worries or bodacious brainworms that keep people awake at night. Often it’s not worrying about world peace, or fretting about your fragile bank account, or trying to figure out how to proudly fly the Canada flag without everyone thinking you’re one of those Convoy dipsticks. No, it’s usually something like obsessing over forgetting that person’s name you ran into that day. Or worrying about just what actually is in a hot dog wiener. Or agonizing over whether you left the space heater on in the office (until you realize that not only do you not have a space heater in the office, you don’t even have an office!)

The B.H. told me that one of her friends said she didn’t get a wink of sleep one night because she had to make a tossed salad the next day. Oh, she’d made hundreds of tossed salads before but this particular night her Wakey Wakey brain had her making that simple salad over and over again for hours and hours of sociopathic sleeplessness. Can you imagine if she had to make a Thanksgiving Turducken? (But then, of course, she probably would have slept like the proverbial baby.)

I’m thinking about all this on account of I had a coffee in a café the other day. There was one of those “Coffee News” sheet thingies on the table and I noticed a note about an impressive winner of the 12th annual “Lying Down Championship”. Yep, a fellow from Montenegro with the awesome science fiction name of Zarko beat nine other lie-ers by parking himself positively prone for 60 hours! (I know what you’re thinking, but contestants were allowed washroom breaks every eight hours.) And when Zarko finally got vertical he collected a $350 prize. Wow. Almost six bucks an hour!

Insomniacs would surely pay quadruple that for one decent night’s sleep. But at least September is coming. That’s when insomniacs get all excited because they know there’s only two more sleeps till Christmas!

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. You can send him column ideas to harleyhay1@hotmail.com

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