Friday, January 7, 2011

Thoughts on Sleep

Some background: My entire life, or at least since I was in high school, I've had what some would call a certain loyalty when it comes to places of employment. Now, loyalty is not a word I'd use in regards to most of the places or companies rather that I've worked for, it's always the people. But due to this, and excluding a few smaller gigs I worked on the side while in college, I've really only worked four jobs since I was about sixteen or seventeen.

Pizza place in the early/mid 90's - 4 years? - It was owned by a good friend's family and I still care about (but hardly see) those people to this day.

UPS - mid 90's/late 90's - six years? Wow. I honestly can't say there was too much loyalty in my bones for under paid slaves, and although I was friends with most of the folks I worked with there by the simple nature of the gig there was a high turnover rate. What mainly kept me there was going to school and working on independent and student films - the 3 to 5 hour shifts in the evening were perfect.

Bartender at the Hilton in Oak Lawn - best hourly job EVER. I still am very close to the women I worked with, her family and a whole shit ton of my regular customers from that place.

And then since moving to LA - the book store. Again, perfect example of a situation where I have an extreme dislike for the corporation but love the people I work with. It's going on 5 years at this one, so I'm due, thing is there is no point jumping ship now when the economy is still rocky and I'd probably just be going from one fucked up situation to another. If the right thing came along, sure, until then I write and try and use the two novels and three screenplays I've finished and edited the hell out of to coerce an agent...

Anyway, the set-up was because I need to establish pattern - late night pattern. Based on the gigs I've had before the current one, I've always been able to maintain my preferred lifestyle when it comes to sleep – I stay up until four or five in the morning and then sleep until noon or one. Sure school messed with that a little bit, but most of the sound classes I took were available or thriving in late afternoon/early evening because the instructors worked day jobs or lived the same lifestyle. Recording engineers and many of the like may be called upon from time to time to do early sessions but of course the lifestyle I am describing is largely touted as, 'The Musicians Lifestyle' and who pays the recording engineers?

You got it, the people waking up at one in the afternoon. Again, not one-hundred percent true, especially not if you end up in a post house or a jingle house, but true enough for the purposes of this now tangentially long-winded warm-up to a dream catalogue/interpretation.

So the book store I typically work early. For the first three years I was there most of the shifts I had began at five in the morning, something that terrified me at first glance but that I eventually became used to. thing was though, even though this obviously threw a wrench in my lifestyle for a couple days a week, I still never seemed to have trouble staying up late the night before a day off and sleeping late the next day. Within the last year however, it caught up to me. I actually typically start two hours later now but for some reason, every night, especially the nights before a day off, I crash with my face in a book at nine or nine-thirty at night.

I have not taken this well. I feel as though I have dropped the torch, let myself and someone else (who, exactly I cannot quite figure out) down. But I digress.

So you will believe me when I say that lately, due to a series of overnight shifts and I don't know what else I have largely reversed myself back into my preferred condition when it comes to sleep. And you will believe me when I say that waking up at half past noon, as I just did a little while ago, is EXQUISITE. But here's another thing it is:

I have not realized until just today that for the better part of two years when I sleep, every night, I am missing something. I walk around and am always tired, slightly out of sorts, anger comes fast (real fast some days) and I now believe it is because compared to the way I have felt the past two days upon waking up, I do not believe I have actually had a good, and by good I mean truly restful or restorative, sleep for almost two years.

Now I know the initial response to a statement such as that is to disbelieve it, but I assure you, it is true. Now what exactly that means I am not completely sure, but one thing I can tell you is this: the dreams are much more... immersive. And my body... it feels better, more like me, once reunited with this schedule. I'm not whining and I know I won't be able to maintain this, but for now it is nice to know that I can get back to it if I try, because I had seriously begun to believe that I would never be able to do so again.

And that scared me.

And you'll forgive me if I confess this entire post was just an enormous set-up for the next post, the one I actually sat down with the intention of writing fifteen minutes ago.

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