Mar 19, 2009

Not Alert, Not Alarmed

I've come down with a lurgy; not surprising considering the hits my immune system is taking from early starts, sleep deprivation, dietary inadequacies and a lack of exercise.

I went for my customary afternoon nap yesterday after suffering a cloggy throat and mutant cough at work. I had a good four hours' sleep, and awoke of my own volition at 5:58, according to my alarm clock. With my room in a state of half-dark, and my brain terminally confused about sleep cycles, my immediate response was "Oh no! It's dawn! I've slept in, and missed my 4am start!".

A beat later, the wires in my grey matter started fusing together, and I remembered it was still Wednesday evening, not Thursday morning. I still had dinner to eat and a rehearsal to run. Relief.

I went to bed again around midnight, after said rehearsal.  But the lurgy had set in. I found it hard to drop off to sleep, what with the hacking cough and all. Eventually the tiredness overcame that, and I floated into unconsciousness. My alarm was set for its traditional 3:18am buzz (the optimal time for me to rise, shower, dress & drive to work). But I didn't wake at 3:18am. I awoke, of my own volition, and rolled over to look at the clock: 4:40am.

My brain processed its way through the following hazy, clunky thoughts:

"4:40? But it's dark. It must be 4:40am. That's not good, for some reason. I believe I am supposed to start work at 4am. If it's 4:40am, that means my start time has passed. I am in my bed; which means I am not at work. If I am not at work, it means... holy crap I've slept in!"

After a rushed shower and a legal, yet determined, drive, I arrived at work at 5:05am. Just a tad over an hour late. My colleague - the imposing Mr T - had been fine, and seemed to somehow expect my tardiness. "I know you better than you know yourself," he said cryptically. Maybe the hounddog black eyes, greasy hair and crumpled clothes have been giving me away.

What about the rest of you? Ever slept in and missed something important, or made it in the nick of time? Or have you ever operated on crazy sleep cycles for any length of time?


  1. I have, over the years, become quite adept at waking up 5 minutes before I have to leave and am able to get completely ready in that 5.

    I don't think I've ever actually been late for anything though.

  2. I was an insomniac for many years. I don't know how I ever coped.

    I hope you feel better soon *healing thoughts*.

  3. My little brother Russ once had that "awoke of own volition" experience, waking up right around the same time his plane departed from the airport.

    Next time he flew he made sure he allowed enough time. The airport was an hour away by car. He planned everything so he'd have a few hours free at the airport, to allow for any contingency. When he went to check in, after some confusion ("Sir, we have no scheduled flights to Las Vegas at all today"), he found he had arrived a day early.

  4. I once awoke 5 mins before I was due for a job interview... an hour's drive away. A quick call saying I had "broken down" and could we please reschedule saved the day.... got the job in the end.

  5. You know when you go to sleep, the universe begins to change while you dream. Five minutes before you wake up the architects try to re-write your memories so you won't notice.

    If you wake up too aware before they finish they will need to send The Strangers to take away your memories.

    Just like in Alex Proyas 'Dark City'.

    Or at least that is what it feels like to me when I am running on hits to my immune system too many early starts, sleep deprivation, dietary inadequacies and a lack of exercise.

  6. I remember waking up confused as to why there was a computer in front of me. Turns out I'd fallen asleep at work. I answered six e-mails in a panic before I realised what was happening. I don't think they made much sense to the recipients.