The Hypersomniac

It used to be that I was a light sleeper. I used to both stay up late and wake up early, now I’m the

opposite. At one time I would wonder if I ever got to sleep; now I wonder when I was last awake. Only

the comatose spend more time asleep than I do; the comatose.


Being awake is kept to the bare minimum. One hour for maintaining the vessel; clipping toe nails

andshowering, and such. Six hours at work, which doesn’t really count, I am asleep for more than half the

time I’m there. My supervisor wrote me up for sleeping once but an implied lawsuit got me off the hook.

“Discrimination for what?” they asked to which I replied “Against my handicap: I’m narcoleptic.”


The truth is that there is nothing medically wrong with me. I simply crave sleep all the time. I suppose it’s

possible that I have a type of chemical dependence; addicted to something in the brain that is only released

during sleep. But I doubt that’s the case…


Dreams are created by the re-filing of thoughts and memories while we sleep. Why our brains reorganize is

any one’s guess, Freud believed it was to see what memories get filed into long term and which get

dumped. What I found out was that: though dreaming is just a side effect of random thoughts interacting

with information collected before retiring doesn’t mean that dreaming is limited to just that function.


The change in me came after a night of drug and alcohol experimentation. I didn’t actually smoke the pot

and I only sipped the booze; but what I did drink and what was blown in my face was enough to make me

relax. I fell asleep while the others continued to party, listen to music and watch Willie Wonka and the

Chocolate factory.


That night I dreamed I turned purple and I could float and then I dreamed a bunch of other weird crap.

But that was the first night in my life where I really dreamed. It was the first night everything was in color.

It was the first time dreaming was more than watching warped reruns of the day before. It was also the

first night I slept deeply enough for someone to put makeup on me. But at least it was Amanda’s make

up…


The night after, I was too excited to sleep. Which was frustrating because my excitement was self

defeating. I wanted more than anything to see if I would dream in color again. I laid there staring at the

ceiling above my bed and examined just how boring I was. How boring my life was… I was afraid to take

risks, afraid of getting in trouble, afraid to ask out a girl, afraid to dream.


An amendment to what I said earlier about that first night: It might have been the first night I really

dreamed and all that; as long as you don’t count nightmares.


I guess when I was really young, too young to remember, I used to get night terrors. I’d wake up every

night screaming for my mother. I half remember the screaming, but not what the nightmare was about, or

if it had been in color. Some how I learned just not to dream or have nightmares, I suspect that my dad

put the fear of god into me- I’ve been told he snapped a few times because of all the sleep he was loosing.

He must have been really worried, because it’s not as if he’s that high strung.


I wanted and needed to be able to dream again. I became convinced that not being able to dream kept me

from having dreams. I was a junior in high school and I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up,

or even if I wanted to go to college. To repeat the variables of the previous night I snuck down stairs and

got into my dad’s stock. I took one swig, convinced he would somehow know. I went back to bed with a

warm feeling in my stomach and drifted off...


I had dreamed again and I just thought it was the coolest thing. I was sure it must be the alcohol doing it, I

thought that dreaming must be the reason people could get so into drinking. So I started sneaking

downstairs every night for a drink. I was caught on the third night…


“I-I couldn’t sleep…” I said lamely as my parents flipped on the lights. My dad was about to tear into me

when he felt the scowl burning into the side of his head. Looking almost frightened, he looked towards

mom who looked like she was going to kill him “I told you not to tell him that story about your

grandfather! I told you it would give him the wrong idea!” I had no idea what she was ranting about but I

nodded along anyway “I don’t know what you’re so proud about… (Imitating a man’s voice with a giant

goofy grin) ‘If I couldn’t sleep as a boy my granddad put a shot of bourbon in a glass of warm milk!’

(Returning to her own nagging voice and the scowl) What’s wrong with you? Telling our son about your

old drunk grandfather…”


While the fight was still between the two of them and not me; I slipped off to bed without imbibing. I

dreamed that night and every night after. But soon being able to dream at night wasn’t enough.


Coming home after school I would head straight for my room, pop in a cd, and go to sleep. The dreams

were influenced by the music or movies I saw before or during my sleep. They became more and more

vivid, going from dim colors to bright Technicolor over time. It was becoming harder and harder to wake

up.


The first time I slept in, sleep was a higher priority than school, so I didn’t go. The second time I went to

class; but arrived late. For the first time in my life I was forced to invest in an alarm clock. After a few

dozen dreams about cell phones and backing up trucks I gave up on the clock, and had to make sure that

there was someone to wake me up every morning.


When I wasn’t napping I spent my time researching. It started with dream interpretation books, which I

dismissed. I studied stages of sleep and its benefits, but none of it stuck. I was just growing tired of reading

about sleep when I discovered the phrase ‘lucid dreaming’.


At that point I was nothing but a passenger in my dreams; it never occurred to me that I could drive.


My subconscious became my playground. I learned to control the color of the sky, the clothes I wear, and

the cast of characters. I learned how to conjure any object, any location or event I wanted. I learned

control the vertical and the horizontal.


Reality became trivial to me at this point. I have learned that dreaming is much more dangerous than

drugs. Drugs are taken as a means to create than recreate a feeling or experience of bliss or…whatever.

Dreaming can be used to create endless new experiences and feelings. As a bonus dreams are cheaper and

more socially acceptable.


Some drug enthusiast including my friends from high school (no pun intended) may scoff at my dream

addiction. What they fail to realize is that drugs work by fooling the brain into an experience. The brain

doesn’t need to be fooled, through dreams; it can be coerced.


When I sky dive or fly in a dream I feel cool wind seeping into the seams of my clothes. When I run on

water or lift car into the air; I feel the burning in my arms and legs. When I make love to Amanda in a

dream I orgasm. It isn’t just a wet dream, its real; I can taste the sweat on her breast, I feel and smell the

juices from between her thighs. I have seen colors that the human retina is blind to. I have heard dog

whistles. My mind is free of the limits of my body.


I’m sure that doesn’t sound real enough for you, and it wasn’t for me either, at first. But then I learned

how to make my dreams reach others. I can make someone more than just be in my cast, they become

my guest. Amanda being the most commonly invited.


Dreamers have a different logic than when awake, they’re more trusting and intuitive. Most people simply

float down the stream of consciousness when they sleep. I can redirect the stream. I can give any nemesis

a terrorizing nightmare. Any woman, even one that would normally reject me, can be seduced.


The problem is that none of it is new anymore. Anything new I try lacks novelty. I am like the junky who

smoked everything the streets had and looked around saying: What else you got?


Addiction comes in stages. They say that marijuana is a gateway drug, but you got to start with something.

And isn’t the first stage really booze and cigarettes? Why aren’t they illegal? Why isn’t sleep illegal?


In six hours I will be awake. After the short chubby hand takes half a lap to his thinner counterpart’s six

full around the face of the clock. Three-hundred and sixty minutes from now I will be in a less and less

familiar world. I already look forward to fourteen hours in the future, when I am going back to bed.


I don’t really need to wake up I suppose. Before I became lucid I woke up at work, I had been sleep

walking on the job. No one noticed because like all sleepwalkers my eyes were open and I could hold

conversations. I heard of a man murdering his wife while sleep walking, she’d been spending them into

debt, and he thought he was just having a cathartic dream. I don’t allow myself to walk anymore; I don’t

want to wake up with blood on my hands.


I am aware of the time just as I am aware of my surroundings. Just as I am now aware of the position of

the body I left behind. I am aware that the ‘rules’ of life don’t apply to me anymore. Gravity, distance,

and on many levels, time are no longer my concern. I begin to ponder time, as it flows into my

consciousness which ebbs into the past. In dreams the act thinking of a place, even if that place is in time,

you are transported.


I look at my past self. He seems pathetic to me now, cautiously inching down the hall of my/our house.

He’s elated that he has managed to pull off hovering three inches from the ground; this was one of my

earliest lucid dreams. He is afraid that once his foot even brushes the floor or any surface he will stick. He

makes his way out of the house into the backyard; the world is empty of other people to him. One day

he’ll be able to sense them here as well, not just recreate them. He will not just imagine them in the scene;

he will bring them to the dream with him.


I get a proud smirk on my face watching him. I wonder if I were to allow him to perceive me if it would

change the events about to proceed. If I can affect another dreamer in another place; can I affect one in

another time? I decide I am content to watch, and hopefully learn something from my past follies and

victories. My former self leaps four feet into the air above the steady three inches he was maintaining.

After he comes back down, I see him telling himself to try baby steps.


He begins to crouch to add power to the leap. Looking at the ground enforces his sense of reality; he

wobbles and drops an inch of altitude. He stands up thinking light thoughts. It’s just funny to see that at

one time I needed such a gimmick; I laugh at him. He looks around his windless unpopulated version of

his/our backyard. I don’t remember doing that.


He concentrates on the garage; he lifts his left leg as the whole of his body raises up to allow him to plant

his foot on the roof. I rise above him for a better vantage. A moment before his foot touches the shingles

of the garage, his momentum changes direction and carries him to the roof of the house. He over shoots

the house. Disregarding his vertical alignment for a more aerodynamic one: He soars for the first time.


Sooner or later he tires of flying, he drops down to a hover again, more than three inches this time. He

makes for the door of the house. He wants to brag about what he’s done to whoever’s inside. Ducking

under the doorway his foot drops down to the floor and sticks. He no is no longer in control of the vertical

only the horizontal.


Blurry faced friends and relatives look in from the kitchen; I begin to recall who was in there. My former

self tries to explain that he was just flying. They look at him in anticipation for him to demonstrate. He

stares down at his feet defeated. He feels embarrassed so he stiffens and tries again.


He lifts off of the ground, crowding the ceiling. Triumph surges through him. He declares to himself that

he can finally control his dreams. He panics but doesn’t react before he wakes up.


I shake my head as I walk away. I had such little control back then. Even though I knew; the natural

reaction to realizing you’re asleep is to wake up, I couldn’t curb it. A few months after that dream I

learned to spin my dream self and other concentration tricks to stay asleep. I chuckle the same way I do

when I see pictures of myself when I was younger. I wonder if a future version of myself is watching me

now, they way I’ve been watching my past, waiting for me to get past my current level. Or have I reached

the apex?


It’s not as strange as you think. It’s a lot like surfing the internet, or at least hacking the internet. Is this

really all dreaming has to offer?


I’ve had my fill. I need to quit enough is enough. I dress.

 

This is sad; dreaming of past dreams. Will this become more and more common as I live less and less in

the physical? Is my imagination so limited? Is dreaming so limited in usefulness? Sure I can see into the

past, and not in just dreams. I can even see into the future, and have, but future is always changing and as

subjective as a dream; the future doesn’t solidify until it becomes present then past.


In dreams I once found unlimited adventure. Adventures that now seem so pointless. Once I figured out

how to get past terminal dream syndrome, I become invulnerable in the dream world. How can anything

be a thrill when it becomes tamed?


Before I know it I am off the floor and dressed. My hair is longer than I remember it being, but it works.

My cologne and even my deodorant have a layer of dust on them. I have more furniture than I would have

thought. How long have I been sleeping? When was the last time I was really awake?


This has gone one much too long that is why I am going out to find Amanda. Amanda because she is the

only person I have any type of relationship with anymore: it may have all been in dreams, but it has been

on a continual basis. Amanda because she lives her life like a dream. Amanda because I know where she is

even when she’s awake, or at least that is what I want to prove to myself. I want to prove that what we

have is real to her as it is to me. I want to prove that the realities I’ve created aren’t just lies.

***

My bones vibrate under my skin as I pass between dancing bodies. Before eleven this place is just a ware

house, forty foot ceilings and a ventilation system big enough to crawl through. Now it has the lights,

sounds, and drugs of the clubs downtown, only you don’t need an ID.


In this kind of crowd it’s impossible not to brush up against people. My elbow gropes a breast. An ass is

brushed against my crotch. Genitals of both genders dance across my thigh. As I pass I start to suspect

that some of the return groping is not so accidental. I do the only thing I can at each bump, enjoy or (if it’s

another guy) ignore.


I have no sense of rhythm, so I don’t dance. Lights flashing. I feel too guilty and too focused on Amanda

to really enjoy the cheap thrills. The drugs are cheap, but I am still too broke from sleeping so much/

working so little. I had enough to get in and get one beer. Enjoy small comforts. I don’t dance. I just keep

moving through the crowd, silent in contrast to the blaring everything around me.


Pacifiers in every other mouth, its good dental hygiene for the raver, those without grind their teeth down

when they take uppers. Junkies smile. I step on an empty prescription med. bottle; someone made a little

money tonight. Pills popped. I should dance; I need a way to fill the time.


I’m targeted; I suddenly realize someone is watching me. Eyes meet. My eye creep down her body to her

hand, she is cupping something. Concealing discreetly. Change direction. Find Amanda.


I continue searching the faces in the masses. Looking for one specifically. Some faces are blurry with

movement making it harder to make out features. Sift out the males. Sift out the dyke-ish females. Sift out

the minorities. Sift out cross dressers, when I can. Eliminate contrast. Ideas that are so politically incorrect

out of context now speed up the process. Remaining demographic SWF, average height, average weight.

Sift out the tall. Sift out the short, heavy, and anorexic.


Blonde. Brunette. Red head. Green. Purple. Orange. The colored lights make it hard enough to tell,

frequent dying impossible. She lives life like a dream. Luckily she has yet to entirely commit to more than

a highlight. Eliminate the outrageous. No bright colors, only a tint or streak.


Identities shifting. Is she Goth? School girl? Mainstream? A slut? A good girl? A punk rocker? Halloween

is no longer one day of the year. Dress up is no longer a game, its common place and the ages keep going

up. Fit your mood. Try out different cliques.


I get lost in the crowd. Did I turn left or right at the Mohawk? Where is the Mohawk?! Am I making

circles? Have I moved it all? I’m too tired to think, and much too tired to sleep. Continue looking until I

can.


I want to give up, to rationalize giving up; maybe she already left. I know she hasn’t. She never leaves

until it’s early, late isn’t good enough. At least that’s her way of putting it.


A drunken body swaying with tempos. I recognize the body language, though this is the first time in a year

I have seen it outside a dream. It’s a vocabulary of movements that she carries with her even into dreams.

It is Amanda, and no one else.


I run my hands through her hair, she smiles in recognition. I was so afraid she wouldn’t know me in real

life. I kiss her and she lets me. I close my eyes in rapture. Somehow it feels better knowing that we can’t

float away or tear our clothes off in the middle of the dance floor like we could in our dreams. As I come

out of our kiss; I open my eyes watching the crowd. They wear Mardi gras mask, nurse outfits and

leather. They drink their daiquiris, sex on the beach, grasshoppers and fuzzy navals. One of the

grasshoppers has an actual live grasshopper clasping to the straw as if it were a stalk. They slam, break

and swing dance. They crowd surf, ride on the shoulders of each other and elephants. Elephants?

Shit, I’m still asleep.