CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHER: Sleep, Perchance to Dream (or Maybe Listen)

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WIMPY1By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

I’ve always been a poor sleeper. Only a major concern if you make it one. I mean, hey, if you’re gonna be poor at anything, why not fall short at nen-neh time? It’s better than being just plain poor, or worse, in poor health. There are a whole lot of other poor poors: sport, company, speaker, speller, parent, eater. The list is endless. So maybe the lack of a few zzzzzs is no great loss in the whole scheme of things.

People are always talking about the importance of a regular morning routine; how it sets the tone for your day and hitting the ground running; the value of a hearty breakfast. ’Tis claimed bedtime rituals can also have a serious impact on your success as well as your health. That’s because the very last things you do before retiring impact your mood and energy level the very next day. Which emphasizes how important it is to maintain healthy habits, both physical and mental.

Benjamin Franklin allegedly would ask himself the same question before retiring every night: “What good have I done today?” Since we’ve been taught to honor and learn from historical icons, CR2S bows to Benji’s good sense. Not that he belongs in the same paragraph as Franklin, but we’re told President Obama is a night owl. B.O. reads and writes before hitting the sack, usually around midnight, as he is an avid fan of Comedy Central.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg reluctantly turns off her phone before sleep; although she always makes a last-minute check of her email; which she also rechecks first thing in the morning. Electronic devices being a Millennium thing, all the “i” stuff is of great importance to this generation. Nothing like the old days when a late night phone ringing meant something bad has happened and you dreaded answering it.

Winston Churchill, a *hero to many, had a very simple routine: Every day, rain or shine or German bombs, Sir W had a whiskey soda at exactly 5 p.m. followed by a one-and-a-half-hour nap. Dinner was always at 8 p.m., a cigar, work (and drink) past midnight. [*CR2S has reservations about Allied WWII heroes who professed hatred of the Japanese people.]

Stephen King is more to my liking, for what that’s worth. While his regular routine concludes with brushing of teeth and washing of hands, he questions the purpose of the latter. “Why should anyone wash their hands before going to sleep?” he asks [italics mine]. Worthwhile question. But I find greater intrigue in another King observation: Why should pillows point a certain way? Why is the open side of a pillowcase supposed to point toward the other side of the bed? “I don’t know why,” SK confesses.

Well, I hesitate to think I know something King doesn’t, but here’s my take on the matter: It simply looks neater when the closed end of the pillowcase faces you when crawling into bed. [Or plural if you have two, like me.] It’s less jarring than looking at the gaping open side, even if tucked. [Go ahead, check for yourself and see if you don’t agree.]

But none of the above addresses the original premise: Why CR2S has such a problem falling asleep (and then remembering ensuing dreams).

Frankly, it’s always been that way. As far back as I can remember. When the sun goes down, anticipation goes up. Creativity, attention, learning, personality, everything just seems to improve. Whether that would put me in President Obama’s night owl category is debatable. I usually do crossword puzzles/sudoku and read until midnight. I’ll watch an occasional Stewart/Colbert doubleheader, but a day later at a more reasonable 7:00 p.m.

Once in a while I used to ask people about their experience with dreams; not as often nowadays as before because the question seemed to make a whole lot of folks uncomfortable; as if I were intruding into a private world. So, “Hey, long time no see. How’s your dreaming lately?” is seldom asked these days.

As far as my dreams are concerned, they are weird, man, no other way to describe. They are vivid and realistic but rarely have any connection to reality or real people. To make matters worse, while I can recall themes and details when going for a bathroom break, they are invariably flushed down my mental toilet by the time it’s time to wake up! And as you know, CR2S doesn’t forget too many things. So why the lapse when it comes to nocturnal meandering? I have no answer.

The majority of my moonraking revolves around being lost — stuck in a strange place without transportation or money — or on a freeway without exit ramps. I have a Ph.D. psychologist (kid) brother, but you know how that scenario works: Show me a Jappo family where an elder ever listens to a younger sibling, let alone asks for an opinion. So this stubbornness means I haven’t solicited professional help in solving my nightly disruptions. I guess I could scribble notes like I do whenever there is an “O” visitation.

= * =

I finally got an aid to improve an auditory shortcoming, one for each ear. But I don’t wear them. Why buy such costly contraptions if you don’t use them? They ain’t cheap, you know. Voila! I just had an inspiration: I’ll stick them in my ears tonight and listen to my dreams!

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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