Sometimes I stay up way too late. I can’t help it. There’s no good reason. Nothing good on TV. No one to talk to. No work to do. And, in all truth, I’m actually pretty tired. I just hate giving in. I’m a competitive guy and I don’t like losing.
For example, once in a while I’ll be awake at some late hour (say, 1:00am). It’s already later than I normally go to sleep. But instead of just going to sleep, I’ll log into my email and refresh the page every few minutes, just to see if anyone emailed me. But it’s not that I’m expecting anyone to. I didn’t just send an email that needs replying. I literally just refresh my email in spite of sleep.
After not getting any emails for about 45 minutes, I’ll start to look for the next sleep-evading activity. More often than not, it’s TV.
If you’ve ever been awake and in front of a television after 12:00am then you know that ninety percent of the shows (or “programs” if you’re over 60) are infomercials. To most of you, that’s bad. But if you’ve just been refreshing your email for an hour, it’s actually quite refreshing.
There’s something utopian about infomercials. Infomercial people are much sprightlier than real-life people. Everything always works just how it’s supposed to work. Grown men can have ponytails and no one thinks they need to be punched in the face for it. And everything is always on sale.
But even infomercials begin to bore me after about an hour (usually it’s around 2:45am), which is around the same time my eyes start to burn from eighteen hours of air-contact. It’s a sign that I should go to sleep. But so was sunset. And so was the TV show Cheaters. But I obviously have trouble taking hints. All my eyes need aree a little knuckle-rub and they’ll be good to go for at least another half-hour.
By this time I’m yawning every thirty-nine seconds. They’re deep and slow. They feel good, relieving. I desperately think for something else to do — anything but sleep. The strange thing is, I’m so tired. But I’ve fought so hard to stay up and I’m not going to give up now.
I continue to fight it for another fifteen minutes. But sleep is a tough foe for even the feistiest fellow. My eyelids start to sag; the lashes almost touch. My head tips forward. Just before my chin reaches my sternum, I jerk it back and widen my eyes. It happens a few more times and next thing I know, it’s sunrise.
I get up from the couch, turn off the TV, mutter to myself, “we’ll call it a draw” and wobble up the stairs to my room so I can get a few hours of sleep in my warm, cozy bed. Soon consciousness will try to wake me up. But it won’t be easy. After all, I hate losing.