Sleepless in Metairie
1:56 a.m Sunday, Nov. 11,
Oh, great, it’s only 2 a.m., which means I was asleep for about 3 hours. I hate hotel rooms. Stupid pillows are either too soft or too hard. The air conditioning won’t turn off. And is that a dog barking? Bet someone left their stupid dog in the room while they are out partying. We are near New Orleans and it’s a Saturday night, so partying is the thing, I guess. Shut up, dog!
I’ve got to get back to sleep. Come on, relax, slow your breathing, great, it’s 2:15 now….
Boy, dinner was great at Drago’s. I hadn’t had oysters in the longest time. And that seafood platter was amazing! That martini topped off the meal, too. Wait, I had a gin martini. That’s why I’m not sleeping. Gin always does this to me. Makes me sleepy then I wake up three hours later. Should have had a beer instead. But those oysters, so good, mmm-mm-m….
The rickety wooden bridge was straight ahead. I knew I was going pretty fast in my GMC Canyon. Wait, a deer! A huge buck just appeared on the bridge! Hit the brakes! Hold the wheel steady! Missed him, but there’s a sharp turn right after the bridge. Wait, the truck fish-tails off the road, I’m going into the lake, gotta jump…!
What the…! A nightmare, thank goodness, I didn’t really wreck my truck. Hey, I was asleep! But it’s only 2:30, I’ve been asleep only 10 minutes! Dang it, we’ve got an early flight out. Better check my alarm on my phone. Good, it will wake me at 5:30 with that catchy tune, “By The Sea.” Better than being jerked awake by a loud sound effect. OK, sleep, sleep, sleep, got to go back asleep!
Did I take my medicine? Crap, no, I forgot. Well, I’m not getting up to take it now. I can skip a dose, won’t kill me. May not pee very well tomorrow, though. Oh, dang it, now I have to go. Come on, you can hold it. But a full bladder won’t let you sleep. OK, OK, I’m getting up. Hope I don’t wake the wife, at least one of us should get some sleep. All right, done, crawl back in bed and Go. To. Sleep. Now!
It was the last week of college. Graduation would be the following weekend. The thought of no more classes makes me so happy! Wait, what’s that, Dr. Johnson? What test? I didn’t know about that test, why didn’t someone tell me I had missed a test? I won’t graduate?? Impossible, I have to graduate! Well, sure, I know I should have known about the test, but I can’t spend another semester in college! What am I going to tell my parents?!?
What?? Oh, not that dream again! It’s been 40 years since college, and I did graduate on time. When do those school nightmares stop? Great!, that whole dream took only 15 minutes. It’s almost 3 now. I swear I will never drink another martini! Well, we know that’s not going to happen. If it’s just the gin, maybe I should switch to vodka martinis. But I don’t like vodka. What, you would rather not sleep? OK, note to self, no more gin. What’s in gin, anyway? Juniper berries and what else? Why are there so many gins in the world? Of all the gin joints in the world…oh, great, now you’re thinking of old movies. What happened to Humphrey Bogart anyway? I know he died, but what year?
Will you stop thinking and GO TO SLEEP!!
“And here to present his doctoral thesis on the aging of a novel enzyme activity in the free-living nematode, please welcome Devin Houston.” Polite applause as I take the stage, followed by audible gasps. “Mr. Houston, where are your pants?! You cannot denigrate these hallowed proceedings by showing up without appropriate attire! I am afraid you have failed your doctoral presentation and are immediately expelled from this institution!”
“Noo-oo-oo-o!” I awake in a
sweat. What, am I so insecure I still have the “no-pantson-in-front-of-an-audience dream again?! Will this night never end?
“By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea!
You and me, you and me, oh how happy we’ll be!
I’ve got to get another alarm song.
— Devin Houston is the president/CEO of Houston Enzymes. Send comments or questions to devin.hous[email protected] gmail.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.