Wednesday, March 11, 2009

in the nutshell (and in dreams)

Something a friend offered this morning: "Your recent essay reminded me of something my brother told me after he first quit drinking: he discovered that in some way he couldn't fully explain at the same time he had to give up a habit he had been in for many years of putting himself to sleep through elaborate fantasies of becoming a famous and successful artist - having a big opening in a major museum, the accolades of peers and adoration of crushes, sort of thing." I really appreciated this remark, and the others I've heard since my original post on sleeplessness, lust and Lent.

As I mentioned to my friend subsequently, I fell off the wagon last night. And went right to sleep. But, I had a dream not long thereafter which mocked my failure to resist temptation. In it, I essentially played out my fantasy sleep-inducer not with my usual imaginary playmate but instead, with some guy I'd never seen before who vaguely resembled an old ex-boyfriend (a relationship I wasn't proud of, by the way) -- and in an ugly, messy apartment, where three teenage girls always lurked in the next room. These girls kept walking in on us, and forced us to change rooms twice during our "interaction" to avoid being caught (and whispered about, ratted out -- because we weren't supposed to be doing what we were doing.) Finally, even though the guy was becoming less and less appealing and girls were giggling around the corner, I got my kiss and the all-important embrace. Only to discover that somehow in all the excitement, I'd lost a filling in one of my front teeth; the bits of silver floating around in my mouth. FINAL SCENE: Me, standing before the mirror in a filthy bathroom; a narrow mirror with a single fluorescent bulb above it, watching myself spit crud into the sink.

NOT the idea, at all. Can't even enjoy a guilty imaginary pleasure. But it's amusing in a way -- more than one person has shared with me their idiosyncratic sleep-inducers, and it's easier to laugh at myself knowing others are equally ridiculous. So I suppose I'll try again tonight, to break the habit -- and try again to focus on the reason for this discipline.

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