In 1996, I dismantled a bomb.
In my sleep. Just hours after watching Geena Davis’s spy thriller, “The Long Kiss Goodnight.”
Imagine my surprise when I woke up in the morning to find my tiny cactus (the bomb) missing from its little ceramic pot.
Imagine my even bigger surprise when I opened the washing machine door only to find the spiny green succulent wrapped in a towel sitting inside – ya know, just in case it hadn’t been defused.
This is how my sleeping patterns went for years – so much so, that I worried that when I went off to college I would walk clear out of my dorm to God-knows-where.
When my boyfriend (then husband, then eventually ex-husband) first moved in with me, I prepared him for the worst, “I walk and talk in my sleep. You just kind of have to… talk me out of it.”
So, he wasn’t surprised the first time when he woke up to me sitting upright and slyly reaching for his toes at the end of the bed.
He was also not surprised when we awoke one morning to find a large painting carefully removed from our bedroom wall and sitting in a different part of the room.
Or when, in the middle of a website redesign for my job, I woke up laughing hysterically because (and I quote) “You can’t use wingdings as a font!”
I think at some point, he just started to sleep through it all – which was fine, because I learned how to talk myself out of it without any outside help.
If I was having a conversation on the phone, for example, I learned to say to the phantom voice on the other end, “I don’t think this is real. I think I’m dreaming,” and then I’d press the receiver (my hand) to my face for confirmation. (Interestingly, in phone call dreams, I still always had the courtesy to say goodbye and hang up the phone.)
Twenty-some years later, my sleep is far less active (but no more restful). My dreams are left to the daytime when I fantasize about what’s next for me as a writer.
I find myself regularly questioning whether this writing thing is really going to take off or whether it’s just a ridiculous dream.
I suppose at this point it doesn’t really matter though – as long as I don’t talk myself out of it.