If I go to bed before midnight I wake up around five in the morning. Five in the morning is early. Too early. When my kids were growing up I needed to get to bed before midnight because I had to have my sleep to stay healthy. And I slept until seven or eight.
Then I started getting older. Started? I'm way deep into it
now. I noticed -- eventually -- that for a long time I would wake up at
exactly 4:30 if I went to bed at 10:30. In the summertime that was
when the baby birds started to chirp. Like clockwork. So maybe they were
waking me up. I don't know.
Unfortunately, if I got up with the baby birds,
then I needed a nap at an inopportune time, usually when I was driving somewhere or stuck in a
meeting later that day.
Then I realized I could sleep later
if I went to bed later. It was some kind of a math problem. So I began
to stay up until midnight so I would wake up at six. At first, I was
afraid I would be tired later if I did that, but I wasn't. I became my
own scientific experiment.
Of course sometimes I still fall
asleep before midnight and wake up just before dawn. If it's the
weekend, I've driven to the beach so I can watch the sun come
up. Or I'll take my camera and shoot pictures in and around the
forest preserve because the light is so good.
But usually I just get up, get on
my computer, turn on the TV and spend about half an hour to an
hour doing enough stuff to tire out my brain. Then I used to go back to
sleep until seven or eight when the crows began their daily cacaphony.
Except for the last couple of years there have been no crows. The West
Nile Virus decimated them. So other things wake me up.
The other morning after I fell
sleep again I dreamed I had colorectal cancer. This wasn't a dream
where I knew I was dreaming. This was a dream that was so real, I
woke up completely distressed until I realized that Katie Couric was
doing a whole segment about the disease on the Today Show. She was
interviewing someone who had the disease. So I'd picked up on the
narrative of the woman who was talking and made it part of my dream.
Remind me to turn off the TV when I want to go back to sleep.
This morning, Saturday, I woke up early again, so I turned on the TV, but decided
to stay in bed. That meant I got to watch an entire infomercial on
ATV's. I now know more about torque, suspension, traction, and
dual quads, which seems to be about tires not engines, than I did last night. You watch, it'll come in handy within
the next forty-eight hours.
For some reason Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice also decided to buy several
time slots in this crack of dawn period. Somebody must have given them
a major discount on pre-dawn ads. Or they know there are people like me
who are half asleep with the TV on and therefore very suggestible to
anything two guys standing hip deep in cranberries have to say. I only
remember something about Ninjas, which seemed odd. I do like the Ocean Spray
tagline, "Straight from the bog." Not for any intelligent
reason. It's just that BOG is such a great word.
I wouldn't want anyone to think I was affected by my Katie Couric dream or
anything, but I did call my doctor to get a screening for colon cancer.