37 hours

I’m a fuckin weirdo. I’m not joking around, it’s a pretty accurate statement. I also feel like I should state this as a disclaimer. I should probably also tell you I’ve been awake for 37 hours straight, give or take a few minutes. I don’t know, I feel like I should tell you all this now before we go any further. Maybe let you make the decision to read on or not now before you get too invested.

 

Also, to be fair, I didn’t eat yesterday. I think. I’m pretty sure. Nope, did not eat yesterday. There’s a precipice in both of those arcs, sleep and hunger, where your body just stops caring. Sure you’re tired and sure you’re hungry, but it’s become an extension of your body, you see. Almost like an appendix. An extra worthless appendage that just exists within your body.

 

Underneath your eyes the skin there doesn’t become black, more a deep shade of purple with blue veins protruding starkly where natural skin tone should be. They become raised and puffy and sore to the touch. Things stop making sense as quickly as they used to. Auditory hallucinations become pretty frequent. I swear just a little bit ago I heard a woman climaxing. Or maybe that was the porn I watched last night while masturbating in the hopes that my own orgasm would allow me to sleep. Spoiler alert, it didn’t work. Instead, I cried for several hours without being able to stop or fall asleep afterwards.

It’s odd, living so close to a big city and being awake for over a 24 hour period. You can see and hear the life and death of a city’s day. The cars driving by in the morning rush, honking horns of frustrated motorists, the conversations of pedestrians as they walk by. And in the throes of its death, you can hear the city winding down as the cars again rush by in opposite directions heading home. The random car as it drives by on the lonely road at midnight.

 

You forget the last time you did daily things like brush your teeth or took a shower or changed your clothes. Time feels as if it both inches and flies by. You lose track of what time it is, what day it is. You lose track of where you are, what you’re doing.

 

Okay let me backtrack a bit and give you some backfill. I’ve had issues with sleep pretty much as far back as I can remember. I won’t go into it because there’s a story I’ve already written regarding the details of that particular issue. When I was in the Navy it was like a competition almost, to see who could get less sleep and function. You were trained, literally, from day one to function on little to no sleep for days. They didn’t care how little sleep you got. There’s a hallway to sweep so get your red-lensed flashlight and sweep the fucking bridge at 4 in the morning because some douchebag officer orders you to do it. Better listen, he’s an officer. Sarcastic font. I’m pretty sure that didn’t positively impact the culture at Chez Sturdivant.

 

Your joints ache. Your body aches, more accurately. I did the polar plunge when I was in my early 20’s, you hurt like when you’re submerged in the icy water. And things become both sharper and fuzzier. Best way I can describe it is everything you see is in ultra HD but you can’t recall the exact clarity with which you viewed things, if you even remember them at all. Simple tasks become complex and difficult to complete, like tying your boots or cooking for yourself.

 

You blank out for several moments at a time, kind of as if a movie was playing and several of the frames were removed in different places, so it just skips forward and when you realize it skipped you can’t remember what you were doing before. Disorientation and dizziness and lightheadedness are all prevalent. You yearn to be comfortable in your bed with the blankets pulled snugly around you. When you lie down in it, all you can seem to do is stare at the bumpy white ceiling, thoughts racing in your head but squirming out of your grasp as you try to progress them further along.

 

Basically, it sucks. You see, I haven’t ever known what it’s like to sleep soundly every night. To me, a full night’s sleep is 3 or 4 hours, not 8 or 9. I laugh in doctor’s faces when they say that to me. The doc I have now doesn’t even tell me anymore. Sleeping pills don’t work, even though they work for everyone else.

 

I pace back and forth in my apartment, getting up from my recliner and walking to my patio, back to my bathroom, then to the kitchen, back to the living room window, to the bedroom for another 10 minutes of fruitless torture lying in bed, then back to the recliner. I find myself falling asleep while sitting on the toilet to take a shit, or sitting at my dining room table to eat food, or sitting in my recliner watching movies or playing video games, so I head to my bed and the minute I walk into my bedroom I’m wide fucking awake. Like a goddamn light switch. I’ve already told you. Fucking weirdo.

 

©Ramon Sturdivant

 

 

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