There is possibly nothing grosser than a sleepless night. My new phone has this wonderful feature that when I set my alarm it says fun things like-“this alarm is set for 4 hours and 36 minutes from now”. And then you start to do math in your head, “If I fall asleep in ten…fifteen…twenty minutes…” And then time passes, and anxiety rises from all that late night arithmetic. “I have to get up so soon…tomorrow is going to be so hard”. You want Mr Sandman to appear over you, remedy is hand. “Lose the sand buddy and give me the hard stuff”.
“Ew, that is not what I meant by hard stuff…now give me an Ambien and get out before I call the cops”.
The alarm goes off at 345 a.m, I’m at work by 500, and I feel positively wretched. There’s that sleepless fuzzy feeling that makes me feel dirty on the inside. I am gagging on the exhaustion. (98% of my friends are parents, so when they read this I’m sure I’ll hear a resounding “Aaaand, what else is new?”) To add insult to injury, I also packed the saddest little lunch. I’m talking PB&J on stale whole wheat bread. I could have given this sandwich to a starving homeless person, and they would hurl it back in my face “What the fuck is this shit? What, just cause I’m homeless means I don’t like a nice steak?” Even his dog won’t eat it. I drink a cup of coffee and read a couple of essays by Nora Ephron, my eyes whispering to my brain behind my heavy lids…”Just close me…yeah, that’s right, let it linger…shhh”.
Once home, my husband leaves for his night-shift and I take a hot bath. My eyes are taking to my brain again, and the bathtub is not where we should be having this conversation. So I take the party to the couch. I’m hungry, but don’t know what to eat. I’m tired, but don’t want to sleep. I wander over the fridge, and pick at a few things…while standing up with the door open. No wonder I was so thin when I was younger, I lived alone, I just lived on toast, fruit, and cottage cheese. Without the adult supervision of my husband, I’m looking at all the salad fixings in the crisper, and it feels like the effort equivalent of rebuilding a jet engine. It’s a lot of chopping and washing. Whereas with mac and cheese out of the box, there are so few steps.
I don’t want to read or write. I want to tuck in with a movie–and so I begin a Nora Ephron movie-marathon, or as much as Netflix would allow: “Sleepless In Seattle” and “Bewitched”. You know, sometimes I think that Rotten Tomatoes.com can truly suck it, they are as wrong as often as they are right. This film is considered to be one of Ephron’s “duds”, given only 25% on the movie review website, but you know what? Not bad at all. Cute concept, perfectly humorous, and totally unexpected cameos–young Steve Carrel! Steven Colbert! and hello, the movie ends with Amy Sedaris? Love her.
I’ve made a pretty considerable lump on the sofa, so I decide it best to just move right into the Tom Hanks classic.
Midway through the movie, feeling listless and lethargic, I grab the laptop, thinking that I’ll start my next piece. Of course, while there are vague notions floating around the inside of my skull, the ideas are not pressing in my fingertips that allows the words to flow. I read about “Sleepless in Seattle“, which is number ten on the American Film Institute’s Top Ten romantic comedies list. I’ve seen all the movies–“Harold and Maude“, “Moonstruck”, “Roman Holiday”, “Annie Hall“–except for the number one spot–“City Lights” with Charlie Chaplin.
Oh my, people love “City Lights”. Rotten Tomatoes.com rates this film highly, and the comments were dripping with enthusiasm. The ending! My god! The ending! The sweetest ending ever! If you don’t love the ending, you have no soul!
I found it on YouTube, watched it, and frankly I’m concerned for my soul.
Maybe it’s because I’m having a bad day…feeling dirty on the inside and whatnot. Listen, who am I to flip the bird at the AFI? Perhaps I need to see the whole thing. Once on YouTube, I do a bit more poking around, and of course, catch myself watching a twenty-minute documentary on Natalie Wood’s mysterious death in 1981. Apparently in recent years this ‘accident’ is a case that needed to be reopened, and a ton of money, effort and police attention has been spent. Wood, an actress famous for roles in “Rebel without a Cause” and “West Side Story” (and once stormed out on Elvis cause he couldn’t get his little Presley up for her).
Thanksgiving weekend of 1981 was spent on her yacht “Splendour” with her husband Robert Wagner and recent co-star Christopher Walken.
The whole thing about this tragedy is that Wood was deathly afraid of dark water. She even made prophecies throughout her life about drowning. My thought is…perhaps buying your lady a 60-foot yacht is not the greatest prezzie ever.
Much suspicious has risen about the sketchy details…why authorities were not called, why the search lights were not turned on, and why this women, so terrified of water would have fallen off the boat in the middle of the night. In recent years, the boat’s captain, admitted that he lied to police immediately after the accident. Many critics point the finger at Wagner. Maybe he didn’t murder her, but some say, that he saw the intoxicated actress fall into the water and he just left her to “teach her a lesson”. Which is always a fun thing to do in a marriage. The mystery hasn’t diminished apparently, and now the case is reopened, and 83-year-old Wagner is being forced to reconsider that fateful night. After all the time and effort, and trips to Hawaii to visit the yacht, police were able to change the cause of death to “Accidental” to “accidental and undetermined”, not “death by Robert Wagner” as some had hoped. Either way, that’s American tax dollars at work!
Hmmm… what an unpleasant place to take my fuzzy brain. I glance up at the movie, and that’s still happening. Jesus, I have got to sort myself out. I turn off the television and the computer and then proceed to just wander around the house. I pass the only full length mirror in the house.
Do these pyjama pants make my ass look big? True, mint green with pink accents aren’t the most figure flattering color, but I also blame the mirror. It’s a total fun house mirror–though sometimes I wonder if that’s what I’ve told myself somewhere along the way. Like, even though this mirror makes me look like Jabba the Hutt, in actuality I look like Princess Leia. But maybe it’s the other way around.
I gaze into the mirror. I look. So tired. Looking at your reflection at great length is dangerous, like the equivalent of saying your own name over and over again… Alicia. Ah-lee-sha, Al-eeee-cia. Something you live with everyday suddenly seems so foreign.
Either I really need a nap or the mushrooms I ate sometime in the late 90’s are making a comeback in my sleep-deprived cells.
I put on a bra, brush my teeth, redo my ponytail and head outside for a walk. The fresh air is dignifying. I even swing my arms a little as I breathe deeply. I feel 1% less disgusting, and in my condition, I will accept that as a vast improvement. Less Jabba, more Leia. As I walk, I think about poor old Natalie Wood, and the mysteries that people are forced to deal with. Well…some people live with mysteries, others live with secrets. And I wonder if it makes them feel dirty on the inside, like the feeling after a sleepless night stretching out forever. Heading towards home, I think about how easy it must be to fall from splendor into murky waters, never to return. And it makes me glad I don’t own a yacht.