I was telling my friend Steve that I always fall asleep places--in school, at church, and now, each morning during my Barbri review class.
"My family--" I said, "we can fall asleep anywhere. It's a family thing. We heard once that you know you're under-rested when you can lay down on the floor of your office and fall asleep in ten minutes. We laughed when we heard that because we can always fall asleep, almost anywhere and at anytime." Steve looked nonplussed. "It's a family thing," I said. He said nothing.
Tonight, I called to ask him a Barbri question, and halfway through the conversation, Steve interjected emphatically (emphasis like this being something of an anomaly with him): "I know why you're always tired. I see your light on in gchat until like...two in the morning! Falling asleep in class. Ha! It's not a family thing. You're tired because you stay up late!"
I laughed. I laugh. I thought back to two nights ago, when some new boys were over, and one said to me, "Are you a night owl?" and I began to say "not really," when Michelle made a sort of snorting/knowing/objecting noise, and I looked at her, and she said, "You are a night owl. Yes, you are!" She turned to the boys and said, "I go to bed, and when I wake up, Sarah tells me things that happened to her after she went to sleep. Things she's learned, conversations she's had, things she's done. Sarah has this entire life after I go to sleep."
(Note: Last night after Michelle went to sleep, I drove her car to Las Vegas. And back again.)
I remembered back to my second year of college, when I had a roommate who went to bed consistently and uncomplainingly at 9 pm. She did work early in the morning, admittedly, but to go to bed, every night, during the summer, at 9 pm STILL requires discipline and decision-making the likes of which I had not yet theretofore seen. So, one day, I asked her: "Jacqui, how do you know when it's time for you to go to sleep? How do you decide when your day is done and you should go to sleep?" She said, almost without blinking, "I go to bed when I've done everything I need to do." I was baffled. She had a to-do list. When she'd completed it, she went to sleep. Wash dishes--check. Fold laundry--check. Do visiting teaching--check. Next up? Bed--check.
I realized then that I was a sort of nocturnal optimist--that each night I stayed up late and late and later, waiting, waiting, waiting, just in case the best part of my day was still ahead of me. Thinking (irrationally, I know) that if I stayed up just a little bit longer, the day might bring its best treasures. Boys? Lovin'? Cookies? Transcendence? I'm not sure exactly what, but something. Something GREAT.
Having identified it--and becoming more committed to the sheer and almost overwhelming goodness of sleep--I thought I had left those voluntarily nocturnal ways behind. I really, honestly thought I had become a different girl, more committed to sleep, to good habits, to daytime living than I was in my pre-grad youth. All these years--all these years, I thought I'd changed.
But it is 12:41 am, and I am up entirely at my own volition. And when I'm falling asleep tomorrow during my review class (as I inevitably will), maybe it will not be the product of some mysterious narcoleptic family tendencies. Maybe it will be because I went to bed--again, again, for the umpteenth night in a row--at an indecent and ungodly* hour.
* "Retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated." D&C 88:124