Startled Awake

     Is there a name for that falling feeling you have sometimes when you’re falling asleep?  As you lose consciousness–that queer, vivid sensation of freefall which startles you awake?  It happened to me twice last night.  Weirdest damn thing.  It’s got to happen to everyone—I’ve seen people startle awake and animals too.  There must be a physiological explanation for it.
     Let’s consult the Holy Sacred Oracle of our day, the Google.  God bless the internet.  How did people ever live without it? 
      Hmmm…my results suggest that the falling sensation is called Hypnic Jerk: “A hypnic jerk, hypnagogic jerk, sleep start, or night start, is an involuntary myoclonic twitch which occurs during hypnagogia, just as a person is beginning to fall asleep, often causing them to awaken suddenly.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnic_jerk
     The English idiom “to fall asleep” is very apt.  I like it.  I wonder how other languages describe falling asleep.  The only one I know is German: entshlafen, which, I think, means more like “to pass.” 

Miss Margo says: “Rules are for Everyone!”

On Sunday afternoons I often attend a particular group meeting in my neighborhood.  It’s like a group therapy meeting, except that it involves a lot of woo.  It’s also open to the public, which keeps things…interesting.  You never know who will show up.  I have seen all types of people there; people of all dispositions, from every walk of life. 
Despite the diversity, though, the crowd is not representative of a random cross section of the local neighborhood population.  No, it most assuredly is not.  My personal estimate is that schizoids, sociopaths, and persons with pronounced character disorders are overrepresented in this crowd by a factor of 5. 
You do not have to be a particularly perceptive individual to discern this, either. You can mind your own business are carefully as you want to, sitting only in a cluster of people you know and like, or off by yourself in a corner with your sunglasses on and iPod speakers in your ears.  Sooner or later—if you are female, it will be sooner, definitely sooner—some maladjusted person will call attention to themselves, or foist their maladjustment upon you personally.  This will happen. 
Well, in the last few weeks, the group has been disrupted by a particularly malignant genus of degenerate wackadoodle.  Specifically, a young man and his pit bull type dog.
At least, I think that he’s young—he might be chronologically older than I am.  It’s hard to say because he’s dirty and crusty and looks like he is ready to party with the sex pistols—gutterpunk, you know.  In any case, he is definitely immature.  He brings with him a young, unneutered, pit bull type dog.  The dog (shocker!) is not properly restrained—I guess collars with buckles and tags are too bourgeois for this young man’s aesthetic.  Instead, the dog’s wearing a piece of knotted gray rope around its neck (looks 5/8” diameter to my not inexperienced eye), and a short purple rope is tied to this as a sort of leash.  All in all, this duo looks like they showed up casting call for some post-apocalyptic movie project—Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, perhaps. 
The rules of the group state clearly: PETS ARE NOT PERMITTED IN THIS SPACE. 
Apparently, rules are an affront to this man’s aesthetic, as well (shocker!), because not only does he bring the dog onto the property, he refuses to leave three times (3 times!!!) when asked to do so by the meeting’s organization committee.  The dog barks loudly.  It runs around unrestrained.  I scrutinize it carefully and see no evidence of registration tags (shocker!). 
“There’s a lot of pesticides in this building…they sprayed just last week…I wouldn’t want your poor dog to get hurt,”  I hear a committee woman tell the laughing young man as the dog jumps up on someone nearby.  She is attempting to reason with him.  Bad tactic, Miss!  Does anything about this person seem reasonable to you? 
“I’m not worried about it,” says the smirking degenerate.  At least he is being honest. 
“But the rules say no pets…it’s for their own good—“. 
“Oh, he’s a nice dog!” says Caesar Millan. 
I see a few women standing in the doorway and walk over to speak to them.  They want to smoke cigarettes, but are apprehensive about stepping into the courtyard because they’re scared of the dog.
That is when I decide to get involved. 
I stayed after the meeting so that I could take it up with the management.  I was so pissed off I could hardly see straight, but I kept my composure, of course.  If you know me, you know that I never yell. 
That dog is a liability!  What are you going to do when it bites someone and they have to go to the ER?  The Committee will he held responsible for failing to enforce the rules!” I said.
“Lawsuits go where money goes.  We don’t have any money,” says the co-chair. 
“That position is irresponsible and morally indefensible,” I snap.  “Besides, do you want to lose access to this space?  You don’t have money, but the people you rent from certainly do.  Do you want to endanger this group because of that judgment-proof moron out there?” 
“We can’t force him to leave.  We asked him to go; we did all we could.  If we tell him the rules and ask him to go and he doesn’t, we’ve done all we can do.”  Says a woman—the same one who was talking about the pesticides. 
“Oh yes, you can force him.  I’ll do it.  I’ll force him. The dog has no evidence of registration and it’s not properly restrained—it’s violating the law!” 
I look around at the people around me.  I must be radiating anger, because most of them look visibly uncomfortable. 
I will take responsibility for taking care of this if he comes back again next week—I will leverage the power of the state.”  Unlike the crusty gutterpunk with the dog, Miss Margo likes rules, and she thinks that rules are for everyone.  A difficult concept for many members of the group, to be sure, but not for me. In my mind, I think: “L’Etat, c’est moi, motherfucker!  You have no idea who you’re dealing with!” 
The person to my right says, rather comically, “Don’t let this affect your serenity!”
Two weeks and many calls to 311 and animal control later, the dog and his owner are routed, and I can finally relax.  I hope the first gets a dirt nap and the second goes to Rikers Island.  Would be pleased as punch to reverse the two. 
Last Sunday, I was awarded a new moniker: “The Sheriff.” 

            I don’t think that it was meant affectionately, either, but I don’t give a fuck.  I love it.

I Feel Like Bill the Cat

     Fucking insomnia!


     I tossed and turned for two hours before I decided to give it up for now.  I ate a few benedryl and now here I sit, bleary eyed and exhausted.


     I feel like Bill the Cat.  Does anyone remember that comic strip, Outland?  I remember it from my childhood.  I was too young to appreciate it when it was still being published, but I do remember the character of Bill the Cat.  Bill the Cat looked like he’d spent the last 10 years partying like Tommy Lee on his birthday.  Or maybe like he’d just suffered a massive electrical shock.  Here’s a pic:

 

        Bill the Cat looks the way I feel sometimes.  Something I find especially hilarious is the way that one of his eyes is smaller than the other one.  I myself have a slight asymmetry to my eyes–one of my eyelids is just a bit...heavier than the other.  When I’m rested and fresh, the asymmetry is undetectable, but when I’m very tired or wasted, it becomes evident.  (FYI, this is a fairly recently development–I noticed it only a fewyears ago.  My father has the exact same asymmetry, so I know where I got it from.  Thanks for nothing, Dad!  His is more pronounced, and if that is what I have to look forward to in the future–should I live to that ripe age–a trip to the plastic surgeon’s office is definitely on the agenda.)


      I like this picture of Bill the Cat the best.  Poor Bill is under siege here.  I feel you, Bill.  I really do.   


 Sweet Dreams

Horray for XX Chromosomes and their Attendent Worries

     UPDATE 09/17    Everything’s fine…FINALLY.  It’s a little funny–for the first time in my life, I was absolutely delighted to get my period.
                                *                      *                   *            *                 *

      I understand that this post is in poor taste, but I’m going to throw it out there anyway…this situation is starting to concern me.  Maybe a reader has a suggestion for me…?  I surely haven’t told anyone else in my life about this.

      I’m late. Quite late.

      Pregnancy is a possibility, but a highly improbable one (I have taken excellent precautions).  Bought a test at the drug store today and it was negative.

      I’m thin, but not that thin, sorry to say.

      What could be going on?  I guess I’ll wait another week, keep testing, and go see a doctor if nothing happens.

     

Notes, Continued

Sorry about that…!  Skipped town for a few nights.  It did me well.
Where was I…? 
Oh yes, the lone neon tetra, and identifying with him in the middle of the night.  Rather taxing on one’s sanity and peace of mind, that. 
There are a lot of things in society that strike me as incomprehensible or deeply weird.  I suppose  everyone feels this way sometimes, but I feel this way a lot, and I’m not a teenager anymore. 
Let me share some examples to better illustrate my point.