I have a habit of dozing off on the 57 bus in the afternoon on the way home from work. I don’t think it’s because I am so tired. There’s just something about the rhythm of motion and the droning of the motor humming through my body while I listen to my headphones.
The nap is only ever about ten minutes long. It’s not even a nap, really. I’ve never slept through my stop. It’s just an extended hang right on the line between awake and asleep.
I love that line, especially when traveling in that direction rather than the opposite – being tortured by an alarm clock. Heading in to sleep is different. Your brain will rationalize outside stimuli however it sees fit. The world outside of your body takes on an arbitrary – almost hallucinatory – quality.
On the bus my favorite thing to do is turn on my own music – new demos or an Arcati Crisis rehearsal – and then drift off. My brain finds things in the songs I’ve never heard before. Sometimes I have a momentary synesthesia and my own words are painted in color. Others I am enraptured by Gina narrating an epic story, only to realize I’m not listening to her towering “Brother John” but just twenty seconds of refrain of “What’ll I Say.”
Last night when my body was finally ready to settle down my brain refused to go gently into that good night. It was raining hard, a symphony of individual droplets pattering against the roof above my head, and my mind wanted to examine every one.
I hate those nights. I’ve hated them since high school, when every night brought the possibility of seeing the subsequent dawn from the wrong side.
Last night I slipped in my earbuds and suddenly “Small & Lonely and “Gone Baby Gone” were rendered in plastic yellow totems, a wry stop-motion tribute to Yellow Submarine, awash in the white noise of the storm.
It took all of four minutes to fall asleep.