Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sans Sommeil

"Now, blessings light on him that first invented this same sleep! it covers a man all over, thoughts and all, like a cloak; it is meat for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat for the cold, and cold for the hot. It is the current coin that purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap; and the balance that sets the king and the shepherd, the fool and the wise man, even. There is only one thing, which somebody once put into my head, that I dislike in sleep; it is, that it resembles death; there is very little difference between a man in his first sleep, and a man in his last sleep."

Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra,
Spanish novelist, poet and playwright

I was told that nobody reads crap this long. You know what?
I don't really care.

I have not slept for more than 24 hours and that rough estimate was calculated from the last instance I have woken from slumber, which was, I am fairly sure, noontime of the 15th of August. I am in a state where my head feels physically lighter, as if a great chunk of cerebral mass have been somehow misplaced somewhere outside the geographical governance of my skull. It is not accurate to say that I feel as all sleep-privileged individuals do - that is, an existence on land in the midst of air, and neither do I consider myself to be trapped in a mental simulation of being underwater. I believe I am somewhere in between, living in some imaginary substance of intermediate density - light, intangible, yet strangely smothering. Yes, smothering. I like that word.

Sleep has been an oft-fought-for luxury for my person and in my nightly quest in pursuit of rest, I have come to the conclusion (at least, in application to individual needs) that the number of sleep remedies in this world is a function inversely proportionate to the number of said remedies that actually work. Counting sheeps, I must say, is a wholly daft method - as the size and increasing complexity of the number (which I was suppose to recite per instructions) of ovine beasts I made to jump over a make-believe fence in my mind contributes to my wakefulness. The suggestion of performing light exercises prior to turning in had flooded my system with adrenaline, which in their course through my veins had encouraged my gullible body to indulge in even more calisthenics - forsaking sleep in the pursuit. A warm glass of milk, in my experience, often led to a cookie, and the follow-uppance of a second - and before I can say "Morpheus", I found myself up to my throat in Pringles and all other manners of junk food. The tried and tested remedial measure for sleeplessness, one which I refer to as Anathanarayan and Paniker's Textbook of Microbiology (AKA the Incredible Bore), has steadily been losing its effectiveness over time. And I would not even bother discussing how far off-course the imbibition of alcoholic beverages have led me from somnolence.

I am reasonably self-assured that I am, at this very instance, penning a whole load of waffle fraught with crimes most foul against grammar and the stringing of random words against their consent. For some inexplicable reasoning my sleepy and screaming brain had cooked up, I am of the opinion that I produce my best literary efforts when I am deprived of sleep and parched for rest - possibly the same motivation Mr. Pablo Picasso had when he stopped painting anatomically correct humans and started creating grotesque jigsaw puzzles. Yes, I am sleepless and tasteless. I ought to be shot. I've heard that argument before.

Yesterday night however, my extended sojourn in consciousness was a desperate effort to prepare for the Microbiology test this morning and with luck, I might just qualify as a borderline failure. My expectations these days are lower than dirt, and I am certain that my IQ has been plunging ever since this chapter of sleep-deprivation in my life began five months ago. An average of four hours of sleep (give or take an hour) per day, by all logical threads of thoughts, cannot be very beneficial to my health. I won't be surprised if that my brain cells are dying by the bucket-loads daily from being forced to slog overtime with no increase in wages or employee benefits whatsoever. One day, they are going to go on strike.


In the course of my cram night, I did the grave mistake of checking the quality of a movie I just finished downloading, and ended watching all two-and-a-quarter of hours of it from its beginning till its end. It is a Korean romantic comedy that goes by the title of My Sassy Girl which I learnt, from numerous recommendations and references, to be a theatrical fare worthy of my time. As a rule, and in preservation of my masculinity, I do not normally draw pleasure from this genre of entertainment (in the past, I had to be dragged to view such mush) but I must grudgingly admit, this cloying, diabetic fairytale flick had struck a couple of heartstrings, and I applaud its simple yet clever plot. There is something persistently charming about an attractive girl with a forceful personality who likes to hit guys. I found myself longing for those times I actually had an agreeable lady to watch such movies with - an understandable yearning of a sleep-deprived young man at 6.30 am in the morning; no doubt a product of a complex amalgamation of the desperation of loneliness and the desperation of needing rest. Watching a movie is always best done with company - I found that I am more inclined to laugh at the funny bits when I have someone nearby to laugh with. That's all the proof I need to tell me that people aren't meant to be lonely.

Also, I wonder if my sleeplessness had, in any way, altered my perception of the film, suckering me into cheap sentiments by shamelessly taking advantage of my decidedly reduced analytical capabilities. If that is so, I think I shall purposely stay up all night just to put myself into the same state of mind before I watch any movies next time since I'd probably enjoy everything better. Just like mood-altering drugs, really. But I have to ask whether a 'me' with a distorted sense of reality is really me? Does it not amount to self-deception if I change my taste and preference through willful violation of my sleep pattern? I don't believe so. It's kind of like an argument of whether a diamond is still a diamond if one looks at it from a different angle. They are just different facets of the same damn thing. But then again, my argumentation might be flawed; I am after all, missing a whole night's sleep.

Sleep. I think I'm in need of some right now. I'm getting that dull pain at the pack of my head again. Oh, it feels so darn good to fall asleep after staying awake for a whole night.

So good that it's almost worth staying awake for. Won't you agree?

Knows fully well that committing suicide is wrong,
k0k s3n w4i


Zzzyun said...

"I won't be surprised if that my brain cells are dying by the bucket-loads daily from being forced to slog overtime with no increase in wages or employee benefits whatsoever. One day, they are going to go on strike."

lol. i love this sentence coz its so freaking funny!

and i totally understand the all-nighter pulled b4 exam thing. Coz i used to do that. haha. Until it costed me a failure in an exam - not becoz I do not know the answers - but becoz my mind was too riled up to produce the answers. haha.

So nowadays, I try to sleep at least 5 hours the night before the exam. But the days before, hehe sleep is elusive - well until I'm face to face with my notes. >.< as in literally face to face.

Jen said...

i'm doing it right now!! but i do so love that fuzzy light-headed feeling you speak of. the world looks like a much nicer place when you're only half-conscious and everything is shrouded in a hazy glow.

that is, until you fall asleep during an exam and lost precious minutes. dang.

voon said...

Aye, does it seem like time magically passes by slower when one is deprived of sleep? I always get that warped sense of time when I dun tidur.

baby sa said...

tho lots of friends had advised me to sleep more a day before exam and I nodded my head.
Yet things didn't go that way, the lights still on and highlighters were still holding in hand even if the clock ticked to 2am.

the next day...
scolding myself for neglecting the advices.

but things still stays the same, i think it had become a habit.
A nasty one.

Crux said...

It takes an artist's touch to produce a post that is inherently rambling, but with enough literary prose and adequate tempo to keep readers from droning off themselves. Nice one.

k0k s3n w4i said...

The problem is, before exams - i have problem sleeping even if I do park myself into bed. Strange tho... exams never affect me this way in college or high school.

I sleep mid-paper all the time. Dang it. there's something deliciously attractive about doing inappropriate things at the wrongest times.

Warped! Yes! That's the word I've been looking for when I wrote this post. I was too drowsy to remember.

@baby sa
I feel you, girl. i keep telling myself "one more hour" xD
I read somewhere that sleep helps you to remember stuff. and you wun remember lest you ZZZ.

It's the trippiness. Sleeplessness is the new marijuana, man.