To sleep, perchance to dream...I had the most wonderful dream. It was Saturday afternoon. My husband had ridden off on his new recumbent bike, and my children were all safely off visiting friends. I was alone in the house, and free to do whatever I wanted for the next two hours. I found myself inexplicably drawn upstairs and into the bedroom. The binds were closed, leaving the room dark, with small streaks of sunlight forming horizontal lines over the carpet and onto the bed. The comforter was slightly rumbled, with one corner turned over invitingly. I fell, willingly seduced, into the embrace of cool, crisp, sheets. And slept for a long time.

Then a small light-bulb went off in my head. Wait a minute. It’s Saturday morning, and I haven’t even gotten out of the bed yet! Whoa, this is even better than I thought!

I read once about a survey that asked a large number of people what they would do if they were suddenly given on extra hour every day. People listed a whole host of activities. They would go to school. They would read. They would exercise. Only about 5% of the people surveyed would spend that extra hour sleeping. And the article implied that there was something a bit wrong with those people. What is this, I asked myself. Are they all lying? Who are they lying to?

There is a women who works with me. She has an hour and a half commute back and forth to work, she attends law school at night, and is buying a house. Nevertheless, she still arrives at the office earlier than I do, and stays later. I watch her closely for signs that she is normal; bags under her eyes, a tendency to go into a momentary trance while someone is talking to her, random snapping at co-workers. But she never does any of those things. She remains indefatigably cheerful, calm, and alert. My theory is that there have been some really serious advances in the technology used in those energizer commercials, and she is the test model.

I was thinking about people and their differing need for sleep today, after a party I attended on Friday night. One of our friends held a 21st birthday party for her daughter. She started with a gathering at her house with refreshments and presents. Then at eight, she had hired a limousine to take her daughter and friends out dancing. I thought to myself, gee, what a perfect plan. She’s sent all the kids off, and knows they are safe. Its only eight in the evening and now all the adults will be able to go home and go to bed!

But, in fact, they were planning to go out dancing themselves. What a waste of a perfect opportunity, I thought.

I admit that I was momentarily tempted to join them. It was a wonderful party, replete with hors d’oeuvers and luscious deserts. Toward the middle of the party, the grandparents left and the kids went outside. With no adults and no kids, it was just us. Someone put some dance music on. The wives swayed to the music, and the husbands moved closer to their wives. We complained about children and flirted and laughed.

“You’re not going to write about this party, are you?” one women demanded. “I’m not going to see another veiled reference to me in one of your articles am I?”

“Of course not.” I assured her.

Then came decision time. Were we going to follow the party onto the dance floor? Abandon caution to the wind, and let tomorrow bring what it may?

“What do you think?” my husband asked.

“I’m loose” I said, moving with the music, and brushing up against him. “Whatever…”

He looked closely at me and frowned. “We’re going home.” he said firmly.

Oh well, good judgement wins again. I guess that’s why I married Mr. Responsibility. And, since I dreamed about a afternoon nap before I had even gotten out of bed the next morning, he may have made the correct decision. Not that I would ever admit it.

Have you ever noticed that marital harmony is directly proportional to the amount of sleep you’ve gotten the prior night? My record this week had been Thursday morning, when after a night spent fighting a sore throat, I had snapped erratically at my husband at least four times in the half hour before I left for work. He responded by sneaking a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie into my work bag. I snapped at him for that too; how dare he try to sabotage my diet efforts. But I was grateful at lunch time. Not that I would admit it. Maybe he was remembering that on Friday night.

The history of the world is always presented as the glorious story of continual progress. I think this is a blatant lie. Once upon a time we were a gentle people, who gathered berries and hunted, and spent hours singing and talking around the flickering light of a campfire. Now we are frenzied wage slaves, who work as hard at our leisure as we do on the job. Part of this is Thomas Edison’s fault, and I think we should all take action, against this snake in the garden or Eden; the diabolical electric light bulb. You can call me a rebel, you can call me reactionary, you can can call me…um…sleepy…but I’m willing to risk taking first step. I think I’ll just click off the light, crawl under the covers, and dream about napping.

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