Tiring on all cylinders: the rebore

It’s been another one of those weeks…

Last time, you may recall me bemoaning my lack of sleep, following a particularly severe weekender in Birmingham. On the plus side, this week has been a good deal better, at least in terms of pure hours spent worshipping in the fluffy, pillow-shaped temple of Hypnos. Vague qualms, however, are still crossing my mind, since rather too many of these hours have been occurring when I’m not actually in bed. Either I’m preparing to go into hibernation, or I’m suffering from a low-grade form of narcolepsy.

Cinematically, this is a bit of a problem; two planned London Film Festival reviews had to be dropped, simply because I slept through way more of the film that I could justifiably permit. However, in at least one of these cases, it was explicable, since I’d given blood that afternoon — though I had replaced the missing pint, the donations were more amber and foamy than red and sticky. Readers should thus note that, never mind an empty stomach, it’s bad to drink on an empty circulatory system. I admit this is a self-inflicted wound, but understandable unconsciousness is preferable to crashing out in the bog at work. Still, even that has its appeal, as long as you wake up before going home time, you can just pretend to have been in an important meeting.

There was one other incident I forgot to mention last week, that totally freaked me out at the time, but which could be the dawn of a new era in work-avoidance. On Saturday night, at the convention in Birmingham, I crashed out on my bed. Twenty minutes later, Chris called, and I spoke to her for three-quarters of an hour. All perfectly normal, you may think, and you’d be right, save for one thing. Lack of consciousness. Lying there, I somehow managed to chat away for 45 minutes, of which I have absolutely no recollection. You can imagine my shock when I spoke to her the next day and, after obvious confusion, we worked out what had happened.

Astonishment and horror eventually gave way to amusement, and an awareness of the potential benefits. No more work — or at least, none you remember, just going through the day out cold, then your alarm goes off at 5pm and you wake up, refreshed and ready for 16 hours of leisure until 9am the next morning. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit of an improvement over the current way?

Doubts may be expressed over this; for example, would you still be able to come out with the polite falsehoods which are needed to oil the wheels of life? Employees “are not at their desk right now” instead of “have been down the pub all afternoon” — does the near-sleep state lead to devastating honesty? Evidently not: about the first thing I said to Chris was that, no, she hadn’t woken me up, I was just waiting for her call. Partly true – technically, she hadn’t woken me – but it’s precisely the sort of polite fib you need a million times a day at work. Lying, it seems, is not a product of the higher functions, but derives from closer to the lizard brain. You’d probably find that Mr. Tyrannosaur was “not in the forest right now” rather than “has been down the swamp all afternoon”.

And that seems like a fine, fuzzy, late-night thought on which to head off to bed…before I fall asleep on the keyboard!