New York. The city that never sleeps. Isn’t that what Frank Sinatra sang in his homage to the Big Apple? “I want to wake up in that city that never sleeps.” While that may sound ultra cool and hip when you’re in the blossom of your youth, it’s another thing when you’re fifty plus and sleep is a requisite for living.
I need my sleep and I’d like it right now if you don’t mind. In fact, I’d be happy if this little town slept four, maybe five hours. Is that too much to ask? Apparently so.
Instead, I’m feeling a painful stinging in my eyes, reminding me that I had to wake up at 3:30 this morning, walk my dog at 4, head for the airport at 4:30, to be ready to fly out of San Diego at 6. Eyes wide shut, begging me to sleep. A little shut eye, please. Perhaps a catnap? I promise I won’t ask for anything more.
Oh, sleep, where art thou? Alas, even my Bose headphones–the ones that successfully block out airplane noise and babies crying–cannot abate the cacophony of urban sounds. Sirens, car alarms, honking, buses picking up passengers, trucks unloading their wares. A van backfiring. And, across the street, in this very tony neighborhood, just blocks from the U.N., is a house of somewhat ill repute. Or at least one with a large blue light swinging in the doorway and a string of men going in, coming out and hanging out on the curb. In my sleep-deprived delirium, I wonder what a 20-minute power nap would feel like.
Sleep. Oh Mr. Sandman, won’t you bring me a dream? At this point, I’d settle for a nightmare. Curse you, my home in San Diego for spoiling me with solitude and quiet nights. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, now but a distant memory. Two in the morning now and the city outside my third-story window is still going strong.
I contemplate whether I can wait until I return home to finally get my shut eye. And then I remember: I’m here in town for my high school reunion. Class of 19-gazillion years ago. First reunion ever for me. And I see myself arriving in a new outfit purchased specially for this occasion, and marred only by the immense dark circles around my eyes that make me look like a petrified raccoon.
Sleep, the elusive sleep. The torture of it all. Three o’clock now. Perhaps I’m finally getting tired after all. Dare I hope? Dare I dream?….Wait. Is that a jackhammer I hear?