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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on January 21st, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 46 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 46

What dreams are made of

Sweet dreams will come, but only if you're friends with the Sand Crab

BY SHELLY CONE


At bedtime when my kids were young, they would excitedly jump into bed and ask us to quickly tuck them in before the “Sand Crab” came. The Sand Crab, or Sandman, as most people know him, wasn’t scary or mean; he brought sweet sleep and visions of sugarplums, much like “Sana Kwaus” brings presents. They’d burrow into their blankets with huge smiles, awaiting the exciting dreams the Sand Crab would bring.

For a brief time as a child, I had that same relationship with sleep—that is, until the time I dreamed that an alligator bit my hand and I woke up with teeth marks. My mom said I bit my own hand, but I know better.

My kids know sleep as the peaceful realm of the Sand Crab, but I know it as a sneaky trickster.

Since then I’ve had a lukewarm relationship with sleep—and can never again sleep with my arms outside the blankets. Sometimes sleep is a much-needed friend, but other times, it doesn’t provide rest so much as it just plays with my mind.

Today is the fourth day in a row that I haven’t slept more than three solid hours. For the most part, I don’t mind. Sleep doesn’t like me, and I don’t necessarily care for sleep either. I’m fine with five hours, six hours, sometimes less. Sleep isn’t much fun, but I appreciate it for its restorative efforts.

I’m a mom and a wife, which makes me a “go” person, and often the only thing that slows me down, much to the relief of my family, is the need for sleep. I fidget, wiggle, tap, and bounce. There’s always something to do, so I prefer to be active until I’ve expended every last bit of energy. I have trouble focusing on anything unless I slip into “The Zone,” and then I’ve got about two hours, max, of attention to give. Worst of all, I have a tendency to tune people out and mentally check off my to-do list if they can’t hold my attention.

I’ve mastered that part somewhat though, the inattention thing. I’ve got a long list of key words to draw from and interject at the appropriate moments, which are random moments, but that goes unnoticed because the people I’m talking to usually just want to hear themselves talk.

Needless to say because of this go-go spirit, sleep evades me. It can be seductive as it lures me into its comforting embrace and lulls me into a sweet rejuvenating rest only to abruptly dump me, turning its back and refusing to even communicate. If I’m going to be dumped by sleep, at least it could respectfully dump me at a reasonable hour, like 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. or even 6 a.m. But, no, that doesn’t happen. Instead it’s usually some odd, cold, and still hour like 2:45 a.m. or 3:15 a.m.

Today I woke up in a panic at 4 a.m. on a Monday that is, for most people, a holiday. I was interviewing 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick when I suddenly realized it was nearing deadline and I still had to write the story. So I woke up to write it.

It took me a few frantic minutes to realize I was home in bed. Hearing me shuffle around, my husband Ron asked what was wrong. I told him I had a dream about Kaepernick.

“Really?” he asked and I could sense an inquisitive eyebrow raise in the dark.

“Not like that!” I admonished. “I was interviewing him for a story.”

“How’d that go?” Ron asked.

But even in my not-yet-fully-awake state I still couldn’t bring myself to divulge the details because a) the dream story hadn’t published yet, but b) the dream-realm Kaepernick’s comments about his Seahawk rivals were off the record. I guess that journalism training runs deep.

I would laugh off this incident if it weren’t the third such dream in a week. In one of those dreams, neither the story nor the person I was interviewing even existed, to my knowledge. During all three dreams, though, I woke up panicking that I was going to miss deadline. I’m pretty sure that’s the journalist’s equivalent to most people’s dreams about appearing in front of an audience naked.

So perhaps sleep isn’t a neglectful Sandman, or even the Sand Crab, but rather it’s a cranky editor who assigns me fantastic stories only to kill them right before they publish.

Or maybe it’s not sleep at all. Maybe unbeknownst to me, I live part time in some other realm where my press pass has big-time credibility, I have access to whoever I’d fancy interviewing … and alligators roam bedrooms. Maybe it’s Florida.

I wonder if somewhere Kaepernick was waking up at 4 a.m. wishing the interview would end so he could hit the locker room.

 

Shelly Cone might be working in two realms, 
but that second paycheck must be stuck in the time-space continuum. Contact her through 
the managing editor at aasman@santamariasun.com.