I have a nice, crunchy, down-to-earth roommate. She is an early riser. Most mornings, she will wake up two or three hours before me to read her scriptures, finish her homework, eat breakfast, shower, and to do other assorted morning activities. This is fine. This is not annoying. Many millions of people in the world wake up just as early as she does, and the other millions wake up as late as I do. And some people wake up in between. But, that’s not the point. Here’s the problem—Roommate is a rustler. A big, fat, shuffly-rustler. Before I attempted to learn to sleep through it, I heard every early-morning blow of her nose, every squirt of her mousse, every flip of her scripture-pages, every crunch of her cereal, and every tap of her insistent fingers on her loose-keyed keyboard. Also, each morning, she would somehow manage to drop at least one noisy object heavily onto the ground, startling me from my sweet, peaceful, coveted dreamland for a few minutes; and each morning, I would shift my weight around and sigh loudly, annoyed as hell until I could fall back asleep again.
Luckily, after a few months, I learned how to sleep through Crunchy’s morning
antics. It became Winter Semester, and I had much later classes, and I could fall asleep for a much more substantial amount of time after Crunchy had gone through her morning shuffle-rustle routine and left for HER classes. Oftentimes she would apologize for hitting her snooze button eight or nine times, but blessedly, I had stopped hearing it—I had finally begun to be able to sleep through the jazzy bleeps. When this occurred, and I began to get eight hours of sleep (or more) a night, the world began anew. Life was fresh—I tripped up the icy hill to campus each shiny, beautiful, cold new day, bopping my head and grinning to myself—finally, my needs were met. My pickily-specific sleep schedule had finally been satisfied. I wasn’t drooling all over each of my consecutive desks any longer, chomping down nasty sugar-filled breakfast bars on my perpetually-five-minutes-late way up the hill, or looking down at myself halfway through the day and realizing with complete and utter horror that I wasn’t wearing a bra. I was awake in class! I was eating a leisurely cereal-and-yogurt-and-juice breakfast—sitting down—at my desk! Looking down at myself with dread, I was delighted to find that I was now always equipped with a supportive undergarment that I had remembered to strap on somewhere in the bliss of my rested morning!
Life was normal and perfect and well-rested.
Wednesday, January 30. I finish up my scriptures early and decide to pop a movie into my laptop and climb into bed with said feature film. I hop, I watch, I go to peaceful sleep around 3:00 AM, knowing that I will not have to leave my squishy, butterfly-patterned, down-filled nest until 11:00, a perfect eight hours later. I drift off in an extreme state of contentedness.
Roughly five-and-a-half hours later, there’s a
“Hey, do you have any cereal?”
in a voice that isn’t my roomate’s, so I figure it’s someone asking her for breakfast, which she supplies. My cloudy, sleep-warmed mind clings to the idea that the cereal has been asked for, the cereal has been given, so, therefore, the cereal seeker will leave soon and I will restore myself to my really important sleep. After an excruciatingly long, two-minute conversation with Crunchy, Cereal-Seeker gives our door a swift, sharp, LOUD kick off its doorstop, says thanks again, and steps back across the hall to her room with the cornflakes.
I lie stiffly, facing the wall, willing myself to fall back asleep for the unknown--but precious nonetheless--amount of time I have left. This kind of interruption hasn’t disturbed me in weeks. My brain makes a feeble, sleepy attempt to deal with the shock.
Some immeasurable amount of time later,
“click…click click click…clickety-click click click click click clickey click click clickety-click-clickety-click clickety-click clicker click click click click click…clickety-click click click click click clickey click click clickety-click clack click click click clack click clicker click clickety-click -click click click click click clickey click click clickety -clickety-clickclicker click click click click click…clickety-click click click click click clickey click click clickety-click clack click click click clack click clicker click clickety-click click click click click clickey click click clickety-click-clickety-click clicker click click click click click…clickety-click click click click click clickey click click clickety -clickety-click clicker cli—“
and on and on, until fifteen minutes later, it’s still an insistent
“click click clickety-click clack click click click clack click clicker click clickety-click click click click click clickey click click clickety-click-clickety-click clicker click click click click click…clickety-click click click click click clickey click click clickety -clickety-clickclicker click click click click click…clickety-click click click click click clickey click click clickety-click clack click click click clack click clicker click clickety-click click click click click click click click click…clickety-click click click click click clickey click click clickety-click”
Crunchy has already left for class. I wonder what bloodthirsty, sleep-depriving intruder is typing so freaking loudly on Crunchy’s computer. I reside still, still against the cold wall, eyes squinched shut, body rigid under layers of blanket, sock-ed feet now uncomfortably icy with rage, making a plan to deal with the terrorist or slasher that has broken into my room to drive me slowly insane by typing with what it sounds like is their elbows. On crack. Typing, with their elbows, like a gorilla, a gorilla on crack. Typing with their elbows like a gorilla on crack cocaine in order to slowly but efficiently drive me to complete, sleep-deprived insanity.
I pop up from my nest, quickly, quietly, daintily, to squint to my squinting extent and get a two second glance at the Thing that is ruining my life, click by click. This stealthy hop of my torso is not meant to be observed or noticed by whatever It is, but I fail in my perfect execution of Quiet Hop-And-Squint, and the Thing turns around.
“What are you doing?” I say, with a nasty drip to my voice.
“My Econ homework.” quips the chatty girl from next door. At least it’s not one of the Yeti or something. Although I’d probably be equally annoyed with a vicious snow monster. And less afraid of.
“My computer’s broken.”
Right. So you’ll leave in a few minutes, maybe three or four. You’ll coo an apology, shut my door, and leave me my roommate’s keyboard alone.
“So, are you almost done, then? Like, close?”
She stares at me.
I flop back onto my pillow, seething, heaving, breathing loudly and pledging to myself that I am not going to let the Yeti from next door interrupt the most important part of my day. I meditate, I shift weight, I do a breathing exercise. I sit. I stare at the ceiling and count pairs of jeans in my mind. The clicking, which has come to sound something like a high-pitched, unearthly scream, continues in the background. I design my wedding dress. I list my favorite kinds of fruit to myself. I think deep, calming, oceanic thoughts that should make me go to sleep.
Ten minutes later, I am wide awake and, unbelievably, giving up. I get out of bed. Yeti Girl smiles at me, irritatingly, as I pour my cereal. I flip open my phone, note that it's barely nine o'clock, and sit down at my desk.
Grumble. I guess it gave me an extra hour to eat my cereal.
Oh, and by the way--she didn't leave till eleven.