Life Lessons: Early Morning Musings

Yes, you read correctly: "early morning." I am actually awake early in the morning. Of course, that is because I tried to get to sleep late at night without success. Part of the reason is, of course, that I woke up yesterday at the crack of noon. But it is due mostly to unexpressed thoughts tumbling around in my brain. They were unexpressed because first of all, they don't quite fit in the "News/Journal" section of this website (HostBaby having added a "Blog" to "News/Journal" at first elated, then confused me, and ultimately led to inaction born of indecision. Thank you for not charging me $95/hr. to admit this, but I must admit I'm also disappointed you didn't write me a really cool prescription). But ultimately they were unexpressed because I had nobody to whom to say them: and if you say stuff to nobody in particular, you run the risk of being labeled schizophrenic and hauled off to a psych ward.....or, in this day and age of parsimonious health insurance coverage, to the #36 Broadway bus, where your fellow passengers will find nothing out of the ordinary. So here are some revelations (small "r") I have discovered in my travels, over nearly 40 years of marriage and a quarter-century of motherhood, and as a result of alternating sleep-deprivation and oversleeping: 1. Your toothache will disappear the moment you enter your dentist's office and your computer will suddenly start working perfectly the moment you either reach telephone tech support or you keep your appointment at the Apple Store Genius Bar ("Genius" being a code word for "skinny Gen-Y kid in a black T-shirt and Bluetooth earpiece laughing behind your back"). 2. (S)he who falls asleep first sleeps best, because by the time the other spouse starts snoring the first one is asleep. This requires even more sophisticated strategy than the World Series of Rock-Paper-Scissors, and passing each other on the staircase like the proverbial ships in the night. (Come to think of it, have you ever actually seen ships pass in the night? What are you doing out at the dock in the middle of the night anyway? Go home and go to sleep.....before your spouse does, of course). 3. Earplugs work great at rock concerts, swimming pools, and rifle ranges--but not for sleeping. Not even those with an NR rating just this side of "severed auditory nerve." Especially not when in the same room as a snorer. (I have been told I snore, but that can't be true, because I've never been conscious at the time to confirm it). In fact, foam earplugs are a marvelous conductor of vibrations, which are amplified in turn by a memory-foam mattress and several pillows placed atop and beneath one's head. You therefore have the Hobson's choice of hearing snoring as loud as a 777 engine being bench-tested, or feeling snoring vibrations as strong as Magic Fingers on steroids. 4. The only things that can drown out a spouse's snoring: (a) A telephone call or pager signal.....both of which intended for one's spouse, who of course cannot hear them because he is asleep. (b) An alarm set for and by one's spouse, especially using a clock radio/CD player. The more you cannot stand the artist on the CD the more it will drown out the snoring. Unfortunately, it will wake only you and not your spouse (see 4(a) above). (c) The purring of a cat, especially a 15-lb. one sitting on your chest and plopping its head on your face. The caveat is that you must eventually wake up when either your jaw joint locks from the weight of said cat or you need to reach for your inhaler to abort the inevitable asthma attack in progress (unless you don't get to the inhaler in time, in which case you need never be bothered by snoring again). 5. If you are finally able to fall asleep--it helps to de-set the alarm, distract the cat, take the phone off the hook and "lose" the pager (preferably down the toilet)--within five minutes you will be awakened by an intense itching on an extremity you cannot reach to scratch without spraining every muscle and ligament in your body. If you do manage to scratch said itch successfully, you will then be called by Nature until your scheduled awakening time. 6. If you are on the road and not traveling with your spouse, you need not worry about snoring.....except from the room next to yours, through the wall. You will, however, be psychologically tormented by all the fun the occupant of the adjacent room is having, and you are not. If the room above yours is occupied, especially by a family with young children and/or a dog, you need never again speculate what it would be like to live directly beneath a cattle stampede. 7. On the road, the luxuriousness of your hotel room (especially the bathroom) will be inversely proportional to the amount of time you get to stay there. The poshest room in which I've ever stayed--with the most insanely luxurious bathroom, which was all black marble with sauna, steam vents, double Jacuzzi* and twelve shower nozzles--plus a Sleep Number bed, two duvets and eight down pillows, was in Guangdong, China, where our tour group checked in exactly four hours before we had to check out for enforced sightseeing and transfer to Hong Kong. (Not to mention that everyone's luggage remained undistributed down in the lobby). The corollary is that the availability of room service is also inversely proportional to the lateness of your arrival, extent of your hunger, and absence of a mini-bar. * It has recently been brought to my attention that Emile Zola's legendary letter "J'Accuse" has been tragically mistranslated as an allegation of official government bigotry, when it turns out all along Mr. Z was merely requesting a whirlpool hot tub but was unfortunately an execrable speller. 8. The worse your neck hurts, the more sleep-deprived you have been, the longer the next day's drive, and the more crucial the next gig, the harder your pillows and thinner your hotel blankets will be. This is true no matter how much you paid for your room. I have stayed in budget chains where I was cradled in down bedding, and in three-star hotels where the blankets were scratchy wool (or ancient Vellux worn down to rubber sheets) and the pillows rigid slabs of foam, most likely repurposed dentist's-office sofa cushions. 9. The more time you have available in your room in the evening and the more you've been anticipating watching certain programs, the fewer the channels the TV will have and the more ancient the TV set. 10. In most states, it is illegal for hotel breakfast area TV sets to be tuned to MSNBC. This is actually an improvement, because until last year by law said TV sets had to be tuned to FOXNews, even in Ann Arbor, MI and Madison, WI. 11. The more restrictive your diet at the time, the lower the likelihood that the breakfast buffet will offer anything you can eat other than coffee or tea. If you are not on a diet, only healthy (translation: boring) foods will be available. 12. It is easier to avoid eating bread on Passover, even in restaurants, than it is to resist the siren call of a bowl of Special K at home at 5 a.m. on the last day of said holiday when in the throes of insomnia. (I have, of course, destroyed the evidence). 13. Few things make me sleepier than sunrise. (Such is the upside of being a touring musician and retired from one's grown-up job). And so to bed. (Yeah, I stole that, but Samuel Pepys can't exactly sue me now, can he?)

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