Weekly Download Vol. III No. 14

Hannah and Gabi by The Lemonheads (ups to TW on the recco) This is from the ‘heads most well known album, 1992’s I’m Sorry About Jay It’s a Shame About Ray. There’s something comforting and 90s about it, the tortured indie vocals singing “important sounding” lyrics and some slide guitar that I wouldn’t normally associate with the 90s, but somehow (in a Wallflowers-ish way) calls them to mind. The ‘heads (N.B. and I’m not sure if “The ‘heads” is a proper nickname for the band. If not, I just made it up) were poised for serious stardom after this album, which contained their stellar cover of Mrs. Robinson (N.B. Which unlike many now quite cheesy 90s covers of popular songs (N.B. e.g. G-n-R – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, Smashing Pumpkins – Landslide, Manson – Sweet Dreams) has really held up) and lead singer Evan Dando’s tragic good looks.  However, these aspirations were derailed by a stumbling follow up (Come On Feel The Lemonheads) and Mr. Handsome’s taste for The Horse.

Regardless, they still have place in the 90s. Maybe not what they wanted it to be. But it’s there. And I’ve really enjoyed jamming to the $6 Guestroom purchase of Ray these last couple of weeks.

The ‘heads played the Conservatory in OKC on Monday and I thought attending would be an apt last day in the sun leading up to Alcohol Free February (2012 Leap Year Edition). Alas, my attendance died the way Monday night concerts for the mid-30s parent prolly often die, with a whimper.

But AFF will persist. It will be my fourth one (excepting last year). I always kinda look forward to it/really fucking dread it. Coming out of the holidays and their profligate egg-nogging and earnestly beginning training for whatever marginal marathon bite I’ll take this spring, it’s proven a good thing.

I have noticed, however, when you tell people you’ve decided to hold off on drinking for a month (and you’re not pregnant (N.B. and the people you tell aren’t your wife.)) it makes them uncomfortable. (N.B. Yes, the jest of it is there (i.e. only cooling it for the shortest month)). But a lot of judging occurs. This guy must have a problem is painted on their faces. I’m glad he’s doing something about it is there too.  The pursed smile.  The knowing nod. In short, they look at me like I’m Evan Dando, a trembling hand, grip-consumed junkie trying to get clean.

However, I do have a problem, but it’s neither with drinking (N.B. with the joke here being “of course not, your problem is with more.”), nor The Horse. My problem, for which AFF has proven a mercurial panacea, is with sleeping.

I’ve slept poorly my whole (at least since about 19) life. Maybe an over active mind, I don’t know. But sleeping has never been my friend, and has often been my most bitter enemy, leading me to watch unfathomable amounts of garbage TV or worse surviving a  bed-thrashing, mind-spinning crunch during which I often question my very existence.  Either of these (the TV or the crunch) insure extra doses of instability the following day.

Now, thankfully and unfortunately, I can lay in my restless bed and iPhone shit. Which (for starters is a fantastic verb) lead me to obsessing over Newser.com, to Twitter, to iBooks, and, most relevant, to learn about alcohol’s negative effects on sleep. (Wikipedia app)

Now, with respect to my alcohol trammeled sleep, you’re thinking about me pounding much booze, then passing out (and trust me, I can still do that). But, while also terrible for your sleep in a different way, that’s not the issue. It’s the two glasses of wine with dinner or the three beers after work that I’m talking about. These play hell with your sleep in a completely different way. And for someone with a pre-existing somnolence problem, they crucify it. The condition is called “R.E.M. rebound” and it sucks.  It generally works like this: After those three happy-hour consumed beers, I operate normally (or at lease functionally) when I get home.  Then Jon Stewart serenades me to sleep. I sleep well for the first half of the night (3-4 hours), and then I wake up traumatically about 2:00 a.m.

The earlier consumed alcohol, while calming me down/making me both loud and funny during happy hour, causes my body’s naturally produced “awake juice” (N.B. B.A. Letters, 2001) to go into overdrive about 4-6 hours later.  This can disturb sleep for some.  This wakes me up. And it never wakes me up peacefully, with a stretch and a yawn. Often I snap awake, sweaty and heart-pounding.  It’s a real trip.  It takes me an hour to calm down.  By then, sleep is a distant memory and I’m awake the rest of the night.

Without getting technical, what I’ve learned is that your body gets close to sufficient restful sleep in that first session, but your brain gets its maintenance (i.e. R.E.M/dream laden sleep) in the second half. Both are equally important to a sound (and who are we kidding?) mental/physical constitution. But I was only getting half of this. So with the three glasses of wine/Jameson, I was forfeiting my dreams to happy-hour.

Now I’ve taken medications for this, plenty of which one (watch it) shouldn’t mix with alcohol. And they fucking put you to sleep (blam). But if dreams occur during that coma, they’re lost on the dreamer.

But since I began AFF (for non-sleep related reasons (N.B. A fitful night of Irish Car Bombs and ruminations on the good ol’ days w/killamike, appalled wives in tow.) and once the alcohol is wrenched from me, the nights go (reasonably) steady and the dreams come back.

And it fucking scares the shit out of me.

There is something disconcerting about your mind when you lose control over even a portion of it.  My mind takes me some weird places when I’m fully coherent. So it stands to reason that it spares not the whip when TMatt’s consciousness is smooth out and Mr. Sub-Conscious is in full control. Maybe everyone’s dreams are like this this. Maybe it’s healthier, I don’t know. I guess it feels healthier, but I bet colonics or neti pots do too. And those pull some rotten shit out of you, just like my unimpeded sleep pulls from me. (N.B. Wherein I compare a restful night’s sleep to a colonic.)

Plenty of you have had to suffer a rambling email recounting your role in the previous February night’s dream (N.B. The Sunday Morning Pilot’s Club being a prime example). I predict more of it this year now throwing fatherhood in the mix. I’d prolly just delete them when they hit your inbox. Clearly, writing is how I deal with my trauma. There’s no need for you to participate in/assuage it more than you already do. So keep your heads down. Enjoy.

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4 Responses to Weekly Download Vol. III No. 14

  1. TW says:

    Unfortunately, Dando didn’t play Mrs. R on Monday. I guess he didn’t want Simon and Garf to sue him for his hundreds.

    Check out “Style” on Come on Feel the Lemonheads. Stay sleepy my friend.

  2. GSL says:

    I read this after drinking 2 yeunglings with dinner last night. Then when I woke up at my usual 3am, I read it again. Mystery (maybe) solved! I am not willing to commit to a month sans booze just yet, but will be interested to see yours to see how it plays out. Nice writing, as usual.

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