Letter To A Nemesis


Sleep, my old bête noire; you rapscallion, you. You will rue the day that you decided to mess with me!  I am not some lily-livered pantywaist who will not fight back.  In fact, I’m just itchin’ for a fight.  However, because I don’t get any sleep, like ever, my coordination and reflexes may be a little off, so fencing might be out of the question.  Not to mention that I don’t actually know how to fence anyway, other than putting one hand behind my back, and pointing the other in the general direction of  my opponent while holding a big metal pointy contraption and saying “On guard!” (my fencing knowledge comes mainly from Errol Flynn).  I can throw a mighty fine glove though, possibly only metaphorically, so here it is; IN YOUR FACE, SLEEP!  Instead of fencing, I’ll pencil you in for fisticuffs after tea time. Bring your boxing trunks, handlebar mustache and maybe some crumpets (whatever those are).

But, Sleep, really, I’m tired of fighting with you.  In fact, I’m just tired.  How I have thought long and hard about you in those dark, nighttime hours in which you completely elude me.  I have given you great thought.  When you are not there, I have devoted big chunks of time to ruminating on whether you even exist.  You are a crafty one. The very fact that you avoid me and continue to blow off our tea-time fisticuffs (like the coward you are), makes me weaker.  Sleep, you spry bastard, somehow you figured out that by not even showing up to face your opponent, it actually cripples them more than if you fought. I have to hand it to you, it is a brilliant strategy.  I mean, brilliant.  Not even Hitler or Orwell could have devised such a menace as you. You are the passive aggressive master.  You’re always there in the background; a niggling, omnipresent concern.

I think most people just take you for granted, like breathing – in, out, in, out… For some people, you are just always there.  They don’t even have to think about you at all.  They just close their eyes and there you are, those lucky fuckers. Those people who you visit every night don’t think about you in the way that I do.  They just use you up, spit you out and then expect you to be there for them then next time they need you. And the frustrating thing is, you will be.  I just don’t understand why.  Why do you continually make yourself known to people who don’t really appreciate you?  I think you deserve better.  You should find people, like… oh… me, for instance, who would really value you. You should be where you could do the most good.

For those of us whom you seldom visit, you are exotic and enticing.  You are every fantasy.  You are the solver of problems, the refresher of mental stamina, the bringer of dreams, you will make everything right again, whether it’s actually true or not.  It’s no mistake that your fellow imaginary friends like Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy and  The Easter Bunny bring awesome free stuff to kids.  In order to get people to believe in you, you must have a hook.  Your hook is a little more subtle than a chocolate rabbit, but no less enticing for those of us who live without you.

Like most workaday folk, you and I have to wake up to an alarm clock.  I have three of them.  You know this already because, nearly every workday morning, you finally decide to drag your tired ass into my bed a little too late.  You finally curl up with me sometime between 4 and 6AM.  You know I have to be up at 7AM, yet you only come over to my house after it’s already too late.  I find this incredibly unfair of you, but I’ve hesitated to say anything for fear that you would deprive me of even my paltry hours with you, because even an hour with you is better than none.

Yesterday, I was hanging out with my close friend Exhausted.  We spend a lot of time together when you’re not around. I carpooled to work with Exhausted after your brief visit in the morning. All day long, I was looking forward to seeing you at the end of the day.  Exhausted and I staggered through our day at work, barely functioning, constantly thinking about you.  When I got home, I got into bed, but you weren’t there. Fine, I thought, Sleep is busy and will visit me later. I tried desperately not to think about you or what you were doing.  The evening passed, I swallowed some pills to summon you, even more than I normally take, and waited.  You never showed up.  In fact, Exhausted went home and Totally Wired came over.  Do you have any idea how annoying Totally Wired is?  He talks non-stop and always wants to show you something, but never finishes a thing. Totally Wired and I sat up all night waiting for you to come, but you never did.  You came stumbling in with the Sun, and even then, I had to take more pills to get you to come over and you left after only four hours.

I’ve had it.  I don’t think our relationship is working anymore.  You are selfish.  You pass your ass all over town to people who don’t even appreciate you. You would rather be with people who don’t even notice your presence.  Nobody loves you the way that I do.  Well, there are probably some unfortunate souls who are as deprived of you as I am that do, but we are the minority and you don’t seem interested in us anyway.  We’ve been involved for as long as I can remember and we’ve always had problems.

The thing is, Sleep, I don’t think I could replace you with anyone or anything. You have a monopoly on human existence.  You are the only option. We have to work this out.  As much as I’d like to bitch-slap you into oblivion, I need you. We fallible human beings, we need you. So, please, stop acting like a petulant child and visit me so we can talk about this sensibly. All I ask is for a few sleepovers so I can get my head together and deal with this like a rational adult, since without you, I’m beginning to crumble.