I spent a good chunk of my life poisoning my brain to the point where I can barely remember what I was doing before I started typing this (kids, it was fun and totally worth it). But lately, I’ve found myself awake at 4:30 in the morning, staring at the water stain on my ceiling and trying to figure out what nefarious act I might have done to piss off the Sandman so much. Is there a murdered prostitute in my past? Did I run over a homeless person on my way to the Piggly Wiggly? Did I accidentally pull the lever for Bush in ’04?
This insomnia started exactly a year ago and haunted me up until January. The first few months of this year was like a vacation — I’d forgotten what it was like to have a full night’s sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Ones where I wasn’t being eaten by a python with the head of my old boss, or being torn apart by wild packs of ex-girlfriends. I was finally having sweet dreams again – dreams of flying, falling in love with strangers, playing with my dear departed dog again, rainbows, beaches. You get the idea: sugarplum fairies and shit. To my dismay, tho, for the past two weeks this goddamned insomnia has returned.
But this time I have a plan.
Last weekend I took the bus down to Virginia to visit my family, and spent Saturday night at my sister’s place. I always have fun when I visit, because down there I get to be Uncle Drew to my niece and nephew. I get to have lightsaber battles, watch cartoons, wrestle on the floor, eat potato chips and cupcakes on the couch and burp and fart and make them giggle. Being Uncle Drew is kind of like being Weekend Dad – it’s like having all of the fun of being around the kids with none of the mess.
Whenever I come down for a visit, my niece graciously lets me sleep in her bedroom while she shares a bunk-bed with my nephew. Let me tell you people: this bed is magic. My niece is going to grow up to be the most relaxed woman on the planet, because it is virtually impossible to have a bad night’s sleep on this thing.
The bed is this big white marshmallow of an island in the middle of a room with pink walls. As my niece is crazy about mermaids, her parents put a blue mesh netting around the bed dangling from the ceiling, with cutouts of little starfish and shells and what-not. And there’s a little blue light that dangles in there that projects shadows of these undersea creatures all over the walls. After 30 seconds of lying on those fluffy pillows, staring at the shadows on the walls, surrounded by plastic unicorns and barbie dolls, you slip into a perfect nine-hour coma filled with the best dreams of your life.
Waking up in this bed is even better. This is how great a father my brother-in-law Brian is: I’m convinced he ventured into the forest and single-handedly hunted and killed fifty Care Bears with his bare hands to make stuffing for this mattress. He must have, because when I wake up from it, let me tell you: I feel like a fucking princess. As soon as I wipe the crust from my eyes, the windows swing open, a rainbow shoots into the room, and tiny animated birds fly in and sing zippedy-doo-da into my ear. It is the absolute greatest feeling in the world.
So, that’s my plan folks. I’m going to try to recreate my niece’s room in my crappy little railroad apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I’m going to paint the walls pink, find the fluffiest mattress in creation, surround myself with My Little Ponies and Pound Puppies, and have fancy blue netting surrounding me as I slumber. So, it’s not the manliest plan in the world. So, it might freak people out and I’ll never get laid in my own apartment again, but there wasn’t much danger of that happening, anyway.
I’m ready to do whatever it takes. Get back here, Sandman.