The Gray Line Tour

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 2, 2000

Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / December 2, 2000

Word is that there is a new epidemic in America, linked to our hustle- bustle way of life, and it’s spreading fast. It’s lack of sleep.I’m a big fan of sleep; however, I never feel I get enough sleep. The alarmclock awakens me and I allow everything from work to the Internet to seduce me away from sleep. Rarely do I feel I truly get enough.There are people who get along fine without eight hours a night. In fact, ofthe various age groups, teen-agers are said to need sleep the most and many senior citizens seem to do well with very little sleep.

Thomas Edison, it is said, often took cat-naps of a few minutes at a time in his laboratory and would manage well on an hour or two of sleep per day.

And the Guinness Book of World Records notes several people who, for some medical reason, would spend YEARS unable to go to sleep. I say letthem watch Florida vote recounts on C-Span and they’ll be knocked out in no time.

However, the average adult is supposed to get along dandy on six to seven hours. My personal average is four to six hours.Back in college, I once stayed up for three and a half days, non-stop, without sleep, sitting up with my grandmother at a hospital. I wasawakened early on a Saturday morning by the news that she had broken her hip. I next hit the bed late Tuesday afternoon. In the meantime, I listenedto her as she talked to people who weren’t there and shooed away the imaginary bugs on the bed and the snakes on the ceiling, created by her mind from coming out of her surgery.

I also had to make sure her IVs stayed plugged in and at one time, I had to make a mad dash to the nurses’ station for assistance when a needle shifted and her arm ballooned up.

As I was walking out the door, intending to grab a few hours and return for another day and a half, I was asked to donate a pint of blood. I did so anddid not even get dizzy.

I also attended a few science-fiction fan conventions in the New Orleans area, in charge of night security, and would stay awake for three or four days at a stretch. That was more than 10 years ago, and I doubt I could doit now.

However, I’ve always hated to go to sleep, feeling I had too much to do and didn’t want to miss out on anything.

The Internet is also a strong seductress from sleep. Usually, when I gethome, I check my e-mail and do some browsing. Often, I’ll look up andrealize three or four hours have zoomed by, and it’s past my bedtime. I’mtrying to watch that sort of thing but as I said, that computer is a strong seductress.

I’m writing this on Thursday, already planning to go to bed early tonight and come in extra-early in the morning.

By the way, don’t call me on Saturday. I’m not setting the alarm clock, andI owe myself a morning to be lazy.

LEONARD GRAY is a reporter for L’Observateur.

Copyright © #Thisyear# Wick Communications, Inc.Best viewed with 4.0 or higher