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     Volume 5 Issue 96 | May 26, 2006 |

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Insomnia, Agassi and the Beatles

Insomnia is characterised by patterns; transient insomnia is what most people will go through at least once in their lives. That is when for a few days one can't sleep properly, then there is short term insomnia which lasts for a few weeks and is usually aggravated by stress. Finally there is chronic insomnia where one can't sleep for at least 3 nights a week over a period of about two months. After all that careful research I realised I didn't fall into any of the main stream categories of insomnia. Therefore what I was going through from now on would be called "Nadsomnia"(this is written at 5 in the morning so one must be careful to note what an idle mind and Nadsomnia will do to ones writing). Every month or so I will go through exactly one night where I just can't and won't be able to sleep and to make matters worse those are usually the nights that I really need sleep.

Federer in action

Right after dinner you just get that rotten feeling that no matter how much you try the only sleep you'll be getting will be at 11 the following morning just when your parents will come to wake you up. Sometimes what frustrates me is not that I can's sleep but how to fill the hours of. To add to the sleeplessness dilemma I have the attention span of a goldfish (whose attention span I hear is very small). Tonight being the perfect example, from 12 onwards there is nothing much else to do except pace around the house. Finally after holding myself back from the T.V long enough (a little over 5 minutes, I must add) I turn the idiot box on. To my utter surprise they are showing movies I have already seen, neurotic housewives who call them selves desperate, news about some woman named Katrina, Hindi soaps, and women's doubles finals at the US open. Hours of viewing for the dedicated couch potato, but while I wasn't ready to bracketed with the "dedicated" bunch I thought it be best to ease through my insomnia, (sorry about that Nadsomina) by listening to some music.

It's only 12:15 and I keep thinking to my self that while I need the sleep I had better make best use of the "free" time I find myself with. Promptly after that thought I take roughly twenty minutes to fix myself a sandwich, ten minutes to eat it and a further 15 minutes for me to gently coax my intestines to make peace with my previous meals. What a fine way to make best use of my time. Now at about one at night I get to that point when my mind craves sleep but my body just can't seem to follow the orders. Flipping through a magazine I find that my eyes can't focus on what I'm reading, what's even worse is that while I'm in this trance like state the few words that I am reading make absolutely no sense. Now I fully understand that sleep deprivation can be an effective torture technique. I realise in this semi lucid state of consciousness that no matter how hard I try and how much my brain tells my body that I need sleep, my body much like the American government will just not listen to the brain.

By one thirty at night my head feels as large as the Hindenburg and my only thoughts are of when it crashes and my life will be rounded with a little sleep. Finally I sit in front of the T.V and put the plane that is my body into auto pilot. When all else fails no one will keep you company through those late hours like your best friend and Co pilot, the television. I plonk myself in front of the TV and hope that those lonely hours craving sleep can somehow be put out of my mind if I watch hours and hours of meaningless TV. I surf through all the channels available and come to the conclusion that not all TV is meaningless. My case in point being I just saw this ad where two men sit on a park bench and watch a girl hit a cricket ball into another guy's privates, then they look at each other and say "ouch nutcracker!". This is really the kind of meaningful entertainment that could get me through the night. By two thirty my constant yawns and periodic stretching even start to annoy me, if I won't be able to sleep tonight I may as well stay fully awake rather than drift into and out of little kaleidoscopes of sleep.

Agassi shows his true mettle.

Finally there is something decent on TV. It's the men's singles finals at the US open, Rodger "swiss miss" Federer Vs Andre "I once had hair" Agassi. Even in this sleep deprived state and with eye lids that seemed to weigh as much as me I enjoyed every single point of the match. The first set went to Federer without much trouble and it seemed like Agassi would just roll over and give up but much to my surprise the second set was where Agassi showed his true mettle by matching Federer stroke for stroke and then going on to break his serve twice to win the set 6-2. It was amazing tennis of the highest quality and the only real break I could take from watching the game was when between games the players were given two minutes rest. Slowly as the match progressed my body started to feel the same strain that the ageing Agassi must have been going through. My muscles loosened and it felt like I could sleep whenever I wanted, but painfully the sleep never came. I was almost going through the process of sleep without actually sleeping. In between games I closed my eyes hoping that in the 2 minute break somehow miraculously I would fall asleep but what happened instead was that the music they played over the P.A system at the court just got stuck in my head. First it was Third Eye Blind with their catchy song that seemed oh so appropriate for that time Semi Charmed Life. Strange how the brain works when given nothing to do, there I was lying on the sofa, sleepy yet sleepless as hell in front of the TV watching tennis and all I could think of was how another Third Eye Blind song fit my state of mind and body at that point. Half asleep and half awake deep into the third set I babbled the lyrics to myself "I can feel this narcolepsy slideeeee"

The next song over the P.A system was Help! by The Beatles. It was the beginning of the fourth set and that's exactly what both me and Agassi needed. This time The Beatles word association game was going in my head and I remembered the tune of one of their songs but for the life of me could not remember a single line from the song. For a guy who was close to twenty hours without sleep the littlest things tend to annoy you the most. As the game was slipping out of Agassi's reach I felt my sanity was leaving me just as fast. I lay there and saw Federer destroy Agassi in the fourth set to lift the US open but the only thing going around in my mind was that damn Beatles song.

Six in the morning now and the sun hid itself no longer. As for me with my sleepless eyes and half numb brain all I could think about was that blessed song, now it even seemed like the tune was haunting me. I had really gone long enough without sleep and I was sure that as soon as I remembered the lyrics my wait would end and I would be able to sleep. The next four or five hours I don't really remember how long, I lay in my bed and went through every last memory cell I had trying to find those lyrics. Without even noticing I fell asleep. The next thing I remember was my mother peering over me, shaking my shoulder vigorously and yelling at me to wake up. My sleep was broken and I was sure I had not been asleep for more than twenty minutes. I looked at my clock it was 11:10 and I had slept for exactly fifteen minutes. Then it hit me like match point on Federer's serve and I remembered the lyrics to the song. I turned my back to my mother and closed my eyes, she shook harder and told me to get up. My back to her and eyes closed and quilt pulled over my head, I mumbled

"Please don't wake me, no
don't shake me
Leave me where I am
I'm only sleeping"

The two songs in question are:
Third Eye Blind-Narcolepsy
The Beatles-I'm Only Sleeping


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