For those of you who know me, it is no secret that I love sleeping. I can sleep for 10 or 11 or even 12 hours straight if I don’t set an alarm. I am sure this is not normal but my mom says I have always been like this. I have always loved sleeping and have always had trouble waking.
I used to fall asleep in class just about every day. Especially in my art history classes, shortly after the lights were turned off and the projectors turned on. In the corporate world, I learned how to fall asleep sitting up—my chin propped up by my left hand, my right hand on the mouse. You name it, I’ve slept through it: dinner at Handlebar, a Snoop Dogg show at the Congress, countless parties, roadtrips, and movies. Never out of boredom. Always out of helplessness. A wave washes over me like I’ve been drugged. My eyes grow heavy. I am literally useless.
These days, I’ve been better at controlling my sudden bouts with uncontrollable sleepiness. I’ve found that carbs and gluten are triggers. Give me a beer and I’m asleep in 10 mins. Give me two Manhattans and I’m up all night.
But before I figured out why I was always falling asleep unexpectedly, I dreaded—absolutely DREADED—seeing someone else yawn. I would immediately yawn back, which would often start my downward spiral into slumber. It was something I struggled with for a very long time. I researched why this happens and what can be done to prevent it. And then I wrote about it.
i am coming to terms with my mirror yawn. the way i can’t hold it in because i’m thinking about it and trying to. and even when i’m thinking about other things (breakfast, frozen doors, the broken vase) i am yawning. the roots of this problem are stubborn, ancient. once a social signal to the pack (evolutionists), now a sign of boredom. i hold with physiologists who suggest the cells are feeling deprived. who knew the tiny cells could be such persuasive bullies! napoleon complex is hard at work in our bodies. the cells impoverished, find a patsy (the mouth) and loot all the O2 they can find. i submiss to your (and yours and yours too) open mouth, demanding attention once again, looking for itself in others, rejecting lips bitten, half smiles, my tongue: the chariot riding across the horizon. in search of treasure, the mouth ruthlessly endeavors to catch a glimpse of a bead of saliva, a swollen tonsil, a filling. the tired mouth: a voyeur. a predator of some sort. a nuisance. we have issued edicts. enforced curfews. past attempts at starting a neighborhood watch proved useless. our mouths (even as a team) are defenseless. fighting fire with fire is merely a recipe for more yawning. i am examining the evidence, taking cultures, pointing fingers, conjuring a motive. i am eyeing my mouth in the mirror and looking for signs of forced entry. i have no leads.