What It’s Like to Not Get Enough Sleep: Then vs. Now

wow tired.

wow tired.

When I was younger, sleep was stupid. It seemed pointless, an inexplicable wet blanket forever dampening the fun of living. The less I slept, the better. Middle school sleepovers were judged solely on how late I stayed up.

High school parties (which for me mostly consisted of Apples to Apples) were only cool if they went past twelve o’clock. Staying up all night was something to aspire to. In college I got as little sleep as possible and averaged 5 or 6 and a half hours of sleep a night, not including the all-nighters I would pull during finals week.

I remember the smell of my own musk coming from my armpit one early morning in the library. Instead of being disgusted with my state, I thought only of how noble and inspiring my struggle was against the clock and my own biological necessities.

Sure, sometimes I didn’t feel great the next day. I would see black specks or forget simple things and have digestion problems, but those all went away with just one conversation with a hot guy. Then, the vigor of life would course through my veins and my body would forget all about the eight hours I spent pacing in the study hall. Sometimes, in fact, I felt like my skills were sharpened by the lack of sleep. I felt funnier, more inventive, less inhibited. I felt invincible.

Times have changed. Last night I got only six and a half hours of sleep. In college, that would have been more than enough to fuel a day of doodling in class and meals with friends, but my body is not my college body and my mind is not my college mind. Colors seem pale in a world full of ash. Nothing is easy. Sentences are hard to form and usually the words get mixed up in my head before they come out and then there’s only a small chance they make any sense.

Talking to new humans is an almost impossible task, as is any kind of ambition or self-discipline. I think of eating chips and ice cream. My dreams of achieving my dreams seem laughable. Distances have multiplied between familiar places and all around in my brain there is a thick fog, denser even than the fog that covers San Francisco at this very moment. There is no triumph here, nothing noble or satisfying about denying myself the rest my body clearly needs.

Instead of pride, I feel shame. How could I have done this to myself? What damage have I done to this earthly vessel and to others by leaving the house without proper rest? Surely great evil has come about in the world because people have not and are not sleeping enough. Surely I have done a great evil by doing this.

This is not living. No – this is purgatory, a state similar to life but devoid of everything that brings it color and meaning and it is no substitute.

I’ve learned much in my post-college years about what is true and what isn’t true. Sleep is a true thing. Therefore, let us raise our glasses and our pillows in a solemn toast to fight the good fight against sleep theft and get the winks our bodies need and deserve.

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Clay the Starbucks Guy Did Not Ruin My Life.

photo courtesy of wikipedia

photo courtesy of wikipedia

I was standing in line at Starbucks yesterday. My mental state was not good. In fact, it was poor. I hadn’t had time to put on deodorant because I was afraid of missing the train. Instead, I shoved it in my bag and then forgot about putting it on anyways. And I’d forgotten to use my ear eczema lotion. And I hadn’t had time to moisturize. So things were not good.

I was wearing uncomfortable shoes and after I caught the train I was afraid of missing, I’d ended up arriving twenty minutes early to my destination. Three miles away from me, on the floor in my room was the cup of coffee I hadn’t had time to drink. Everything was terrible so I decided to take the twenty minutes I had and walk to the Starbucks that I thought was five minutes away.

But it was not five minutes away, it was a ten minutes away. Seven minutes in to the journey, I was starting to sweat and my mental state – already fragile – nose dived (or nose doved – not sure what the correct phrase is here.) I remember speaking out loud, “Please. Please. Please,” willing the Starbucks to appear earlier to relieve my anguish. It was sad. What seemed like hours later, I arrived at the Starbucks, my neurons panting for caffeine.

There was a line. “That’s okay,” I tried to tell myself, “It’ll go fast.” Unfortunately this was not one of those uber-efficient financial district Starbucks, where employees have been choreographed to move through dozens of customers in five minutes with robot-like precision. This was a tourist Starbucks, and people had questions about the menu and time to debate over whether they wanted the pumpkin bread with cream cheese or the pumpkin scone.

There were only two people in front of me but it felt like an entire lifetime passed as they debated endlessly and pathetically over what kind of baked good they wanted to order, who they wanted to be when they grew up, how the family was doing.

Behind them a storm was gathering in my mind. I was summoning all the forces of darkness, all the black magic in the world to will them to finish their order and get their coffee, or perish. My hair grew long and wicked and floated up behind me as I grew fangs and my fingernails became yellow and razor sharp. I was ready to bring the reckoning and I knew who was at fault. It was Clay, the Starbucks employee. If he could just go a little faster then everything would be okay, but he was willfully and defiantly lethargic and the source of all terrible things in the universe and the gross black stuff that grows on my kitchen faucet.

Just as I was getting ready to be rude to him and/or cause him physical harm, I had a moment of clarity.

Wait a second, I thought. It’s not Clay’s fault that I was unprepared for today. It’s not his fault my armpits are stinking and my back is sweating. He didn’t choose the shoes I’m wearing or my career path. In fact, Clay has nothing to do with my anger or my life or my long, dark, wicked hair. He’s just here.

If I were in a better mood, nothing would be wrong. Even the colors would be brighter and the tourists’ inane conversation would be charming, possibly exciting. I am the problem.

Whoahhhhhh.

With that in mind, the voodoo winds died down, my fingernails and teeth changed back to normal, I took a deep breath and forced a smile to my face.

“Medium coffee please – could you put some hot water in the bottom of it and leave room at the top for cream?”

Everything was going to be okay.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

San Francisco Missed Connections: Tales of Two Muni’s Passing in the Night

imageI’d say I have about three to four missed connections on a daily basis, people who know that I know that they know that something special is going on between us but we’re too shy and across the street from each other to say anything about it. It can be heartbreaking, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s why craigslist missed connections exists. It is the number one way for you to mimic online the experience of shouting your love feelings into a well in the middle of the Idahoan prairie or putting a love letter into a glass bottle and then throwing it into the recycling bin on trash day.

Though I’ve never posted anything on the missed connections board before, I thought I’d go ahead and try it out here for tone and style. Also, I just want to get real here. Missed connections happen. If you think I missed you, please leave a note at the UCSF Flight Attendant Study Terrace. Then, let me find you. In the meantime, see if you’re one of the below:

Cuff links and cologne – w4m (Duboce Triangle)

You might not have seen me but I smelled you the second you got on the N Judah at the Noe stop. You sat next to me and I was enveloped in your cologne like a letter in an envelope. Your cuff links spoke to me like sprinkles. Your circle glasses reminded me of Mrs. Trelaway. Let’s go walk our dogs together.

Whole foods hottie – w4m (Portrero Hill)

Your hair has blonde highlights and your bulging biceps are tattooed. I saw you reach up to pull your hair back and it was like I was looking at Atlas reaching up to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders. You looked back and your jaw line smote me. I could listen to you talk about cheese all night.

You brushed my bangs away and stole my heart – w4m (Inner sunset)

You looked down at me and smiled and I thought I knew you so I smiled back. Then you brushed my bangs away and I realized I had no idea who you were. Whiskey on your breath and confidence in your gaze, you engaged me in conversation, refusing to give me your full name so I could look you up on LinkedIn. I don’t have a job anymore, so I don’t care about that stuff. Your name was Pablo, and my name is yours.

T-mobile support line flirt – w4m (Inner Sunset)

I called to change some info on my T-mobile account. You told me your name was Devan and that you were in Florida. We chatted for minutes on end. I was eating cherries and you said you wanted some, and I knew exactly what you were talking about. You have my number…give me a call.

Sketch artist at coffee shop – w4m (Mission)

I was sitting at a coffee shop and you were drawing faces on your sketch pad. I think we are in love. If you think you know who I am, tweet at me.

Balding data architect with twinkling eyes and a penchant for recreational marijuana – w4m (SOMA)

We met at a company holiday party. We ate the shrimp. We laughed, we danced, and then the carriage turned back into a pumpkin and I went home to the Inner Sunset. You taught me to say that people “write Hadoop.” Nerd. If you want to take this where it needs to go, send me an email from my own account.

Magician with chestnut eyes – w4m (Colorado, summer 2007)

You were in high school and I had just graduated. You had very nice eyes and showed me a magic trick near the pool. Then walked away into the night. I kept the torn card for a long time. What are your secrets?

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Square Plates Are an Abomination on the Face of a Dying Earth

imageA crises faces this generation. It is the crisis of the square plate, the better-than-you-evenly-sided monstrosity, the good-luck-getting-the-sauce slap in the face which is plaguing our restaurants, our cities, and our dogs.

I am not a foodie. I am not a restauranteur nor a critic nor a connoisseur of anything, not even church bathrooms or peanut butter. I do not claim to possess special knowledge, powers, or high fives and I do not boast exceptional height or good looks.

But I hope you will hear me for my cause, for I am a human. I am a person with almost disposable income, and I believe that I possess the right – nay – I demand the right to eat out of dishes that do not make me feel like a robot or a farm animal. I demand the right to eat out of proper dishes, not some trumped up piece of garbage, some toilet shard that is barely passing for a plate in what is barely passing for a place of hospitality.

This is the struggle of our times. At the very height of human civilization, how is it possible that some have fallen so very low and are wallowing in the dregs of second-rate design, inhaling the exhaust of fads farting their way through existence. It is, to put it bluntly, ugly. It is ugly. Not only is it ugly in form, it is ugly in function, a true Jezebel of the dinner table, an embarrassment in porcelain’s clothing, an emperor wearing no clothes and caught trying to attend a Zumba class.

It’s hard to know what is most terrible about this shameful spit of anti-design malfeasance. Is it how terribly clunky it is, its nightmarish IKEA edges, or its unforgivable flatness and lack of inspiration disguised as modernity? Is it the way it makes you want to smash it on the ground before it sucks any more life out of the world or causes yet another person to question their hopes and dreams? Is it the way that it is somehow smug, like someone who is technically nice but still makes you want to strangle them?  Is it the violence it inspires in everyone who sees it?

Only God in God’s infinite wisdom can fathom and place a name on the depth of this plate’s crime against all that is good and holy, for it is an abomination on the face of a dying earth.

I do not know the future and can merely put one step in front of another and take one breath at a time. But I hope and I pray for a day when all humanity will rejoice and join together in song as we dance and dance and dance, trampling the very last square-edged faux-modern plate into dust which will then blow away harmlessly into the boiling seas.

Tagged , , , , ,

It’s Not a Cafe, It’s Tart to Tart

imageThere’s a place near me in the Inner Sunset called Tart to Tart. It’s a bakery/coffee place/Mexican food distributor (kind of.)

Nothing cool has happened here in years. Maybe nothing cool has ever happened here. I don’t know how long this place has been open, but I do remember seeing it the first time I came to San Francisco. I was walking along Irving street in January 2012 and I saw this place and I thought to myself, “That looks so cute.” But I didn’t know anything then, even about the things I thought I knew something. About those things I was especially ignorant.

Tart to Tart is not cute. It’s not adorable, or whimsical. All cuteness about it stops at the name. Keep in mind that I’m speaking only of the Inner Sunset location, and not about any other one. Nowadays I don’t talk so much about things I don’t know, or at least I try to avoid it.

Tart to Tart is a place of supreme function. It stretches out behind its windows into a dark, cave-like interior where all the furniture wobbles and has either been here a long time or was purchased second-hand. Students can camp out here safely. Old friends meet and talk and see other people they know. They say hello and describe the road trip they just took through Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and some other places.

There are no pretensions here. If you have pretensions, they will be ignored. Maybe that makes it a place where you’re safe from the person you pretend to be sometimes, and that’s kind of nice.

This is a place to come if you love coffee so much you don’t care what it tastes like, where you like looking at pastries almost as much as eating a pastry that actually tastes good, where you don’t mind a bathroom that reminds you of gas stations in middle America. Even the word cafe doesn’t really fit – it’s just Tart to Tart, a place you go when you need to go somewhere. That’s all.

Bring cash if you’re buying something that costs less than $3. Or maybe it’s $5. Just bring some cash. It’s the right thing to do.

Tagged , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: