I have such a huge brain that sometimes it’s so busy finding solutions to complex equations, world issues and reciting pie to a couple of thousand digits that it doesn’t shut down properly at night. HA, just kidding. Actually, my brain is so slow that it takes longer than it should to process what’s gone on during the day. Or something like that. Googling it just brings up information about how it’s only meant to happen with children and that I really should have grown out of it by now. But then I’m also meant to be too old for Happy Meals and Kinder Eggs but getting toys with my food is like totally the best thing everrrrr!
If you haven’t gathered yet, my name is Jessica Case and I am a sleepwalker.
As with many things, it’s not like how the movies do it. I don’t rise out of bed with my arms straight out ahead of me (don’t have the stomach muscles for that) and stumble about with my eyes shut. That would be ridiculous. No, I am far more civilised. I wander around with a glazed look in my eyes and try to wake up folded hoodies. Have done since I was a kid (not the hoodie thing – that was just the one time at uni). My parents quickly learned to recognize the look. And to burn the memory into their brains for entertaining at dinner parties, family gatherings and train stations.
My mom’s favourite is from when I was around six years old. I had been asleep for a couple of hours and she was heading to bed, glancing into my room as she passed. I imagine her doing a classic kid’s film double-take as she perceived that instead of
drooling snoring gently into my pillow, I was kneeling on it, facing the wall behind my bed and waving my arm around. She went into my room and gently asked what I was doing. When I answered, in an isn’t-it-perfectly-clear-what-I’m-doing-here? tone, “Painting the wall”, her suspicions of sleepwalking were confirmed. So she hid her giggles from the apparently very, very serious me, and suggested that I go to bed and continue “painting” in the morning. I didn’t even waste time considering that preposterous idea and continued “painting”. At this point in the tale I must stress that there was nothing in my hands. Nothing at all. So when I extended my left arm towards my dear mother and demanded that she “hold this”, she was unsure of the dimensions of the (what she only presume was a) tin of paint I was handing to her. But, as the supportive mother she is, she guessed, and accepted the responsibility. She let me finish the imaginary section I was on, faithfully holding the imaginary tin out for me to dip the imaginary brush into the imaginary paint, before insisting that I finish the rest in the morning. I relented, put the imaginary brush down (with no apparent care for imaginary paint getting all over my real-life bedside table) and went…well, went back into a deeper sleep.
We had self-locking doors in halls in my fresher’s year at uni. You see where this is going. Picture the scene: Approximately 4am on a Wednesday morning. I ‘come to’ wandering down my floor’s corridor. I am rocking the pjs and fresh bed-head with a toilet roll in hand look. I don’t know why the toilet roll. No key. It was really super great having to wait in the hall reception for half an hour (praying so hard that nobody came back from a late night while I was there) for campus security to let me and my toilet roll back into my room. After that I slept with a key around my neck.
I am more likely to sleepwalk when I’m stressed or when I’m in a new place. When we went on a twenty credit field course to Portugal in third year, I was stressed in a new place. I shared a room with three friends. Oh, my poor, poor friends. I did warn them. But even I could not have predicted that it would happen three nights in a row. On the first night I sat up screaming “TURN ON THE LIGHT! TURN ON THE LIGHT! TURN ON THE LIGHT!”. Oh, my poor, poor friends. Someone turned on the light… I lay down and went straight back to sleep… and they were left panicking and wondering what the frik was going on.
The second night was worse… for one of my poor, poor friends. When I had casually mentioned that I may get up and wander around in the night, Jenny had asked that I please not wake her because it would “really freak her out”. I laughed it off and said that I don’t usually wake people and just stick to doing my own thing. But there’s a first for everything eh? Jen was targeted with a deodorant can, thrown from across the room. She awoke with a start to see me, glazey-eyed and staring at her from the direction that the deodorant can had flown from. Poor, poor Jen. At least on the third night I provided a second member for her support group. We stupidly decided to push our beds together so that we had one big bed. Fun right?! And guess who was in the middle?? Muggins McGee! Stupid idea. Poor, poor Sarah was woken with me leaning over her, scrabbling at the bedside table. She asked if I was ok and I demanded that she “HAND ME THAT!”. She didn’t know what I was pointing at so asked “What?”. “THAT! I need it for my group!”. Poor, poor Sarah started handing me random items from the bedside table, each apparently making me more exasperated: “NO! NOT THAT….THAT!!!”. She had no idea what I wanted (maybe something to lob at Jen?) but luckily I gave up, and with an irritated “OH NEVER MIND!”, lay back down and went back to sleep.
So there you have it. I don’t confine my embarrassing moments to waking hours. There are plenty more stories to go with these as well! I may write a “Somnambulating – Part2”, if you ask nicely (just kidding – I’ll force it on you along with all my other
opinions blog posts). What makes it worse is that I usually have to be told about it the next day. Sometimes I do have an inkling that I had been up, sometimes I can tell you exactly what I was doing and why, sometimes I have no idea. What I can tell you though, is that it’s true what they say: never wake a sleepwalker while we’re walking. Whatever I’m doing, no matter how weird, makes perfect sense to me at the time. Even the suggestion that I may be sleepwalking makes me angry. And I may bite. So just enjoy the show… then send me back to bed please!