If I hated sleeping as much as I love literature, then teaching high school English would be the perfect job. Unfortunately, I love sleeping. And I feel like sleep loves me back. Sleep keeps me energized and keeps me healthy. It gives my bed purpose, and my bed takes up a lot of space in my room, so it is important to me that it is there for pragmatic reasons. Sleep, if I get it for long enough, keeps me from needing to eat breakfast and I can just skip to lunch, which saves me food and/or money. But I’ve been neglecting sleep lately, I’ve been too busy for it. Harry Chapin could write a heartbreaking song about my relationship with sleep right now.
It isn’t that I’ve been unfaithful to sleep. I’m no cheater–even in my mind. I haven’t been “window shopping” for other activities out there, like a restless girlfriend who thinks she can do better. I haven’t “got the eye” like Curley’s wife (I’ve been reading Of Mice and Men a few times every day for a week to my classes). I’m no tart! (Steinbeck again.) I’m just used to having sleep at a different time of day. From like 2:00AM to 9:00 or 10:00AM, instead of from 12:30AM to 6:15AM.
Let me go ahead and let you know, though, that running on fewer hours of sleep than normal has not affected my performance in the classroom. I’m still molding and expanding and blowing minds every day. I’m still keeping up on grading and have my objectives on the board. But I’m drinking a lot more caffeine. I own a coffee maker now. I buy coffee at coffee shops more. I drink caffeinated soda during lunch more. Or coffee again. Let’s be honest: my blood is just coffee now. I don’t just have coffee breath, I have coffee sweat and coffee tears and coffee farts too. Sorry, that’s gross. That’s a joke, I promise.
I daydream about sleeping. But I’m starting to fall into an appropriate sleep pattern again, or I’m getting used to operating on less sleep, or I’m just lying to myself. It’s probably one of the first two because I’m still feeling well and still having fun and still staying awake enough to keep my students from experiencing the same sleep that I so desire. And I guess that’s what is important.