22 January 2010

Sleep And Body Heat

Last night I fell asleep while reading a student's paper. That should not be taken as an assessment of the student's work: I probably would have fallen asleep had Angelina and Brad walked into my apartment and done whatever it is Angelina and Brad do.

Anyway...When I woke up--nearly ten hours later--I was stretched out on the couch, with Charlie curled up by my feet and Max by my left side. I had been sitting up when I started to doze off; I cannot remember stretching out on the couch. And I didn't notice when Charlie and Max climbed onto the couch. Then again, it's not the first time I've awakened with them by or on me.

What's more, I didn't dilate before I went to sleep. So yesterday was the first day I didn't. I'm guessing that one day in six months won't ruin what's come to fit me so well. Also, I didn't take a warm bath, as I have been nearly every night. To fall into such a sleep without my bath, I must have been really tired.

At one time, I would have berated myself for being so tired and falling into such a deep sleep without having ridden my bike long or hard, or having exerted myself in any other way. Yesterday, I simply taught my class, read some papers, ran an errand, ate and read some more papers. My body had its own reasons for being so tired, I guess.

Yesterday was the last day of the class. I told my students that I'd be in my office this morning. Fortunately, as it turned out, only one student was looking for me, and she wasn't upset. We managed to find each other this afternoon, a little while after I arrived on campus.

It was a bit odd to have started the day and work after ten hours that were a blank. And I didn't have the excuse of anaesthesia or other forms of induced unconsciousness. Heck, I haven't had a drink in more than twenty years or smoked pot for even longer than that. No, my body shut down--shut me down--all on its own. Not that it's anything to celebrate. I just haven't fallen asleep so suddenly or deeply for no particular reason in I don't know how long.

At least I felt rested today. And Charlie and Max didn't seem to mind. Nor did I mind them sleeping on me. I have to wonder, though: Do they like me only for my body heat? Or do they really like me because, well, I'm their human.

What if some scientist were to find out that people hug each other only because we are drawn to each other's body heat--that is to say, only to keep warm. Or that our impulse to hug is rooted in an old survival mechanism. What did Miguel de Unamuno write? Nos morimos de frio y no de oscuridad: We do not die from the cold, not from darkness. Could Senor Unamuno have been a gato in his past life? Or, perhaps he was un gato que vive en un cuerpo de hombre. I used to tell my cats that's what I was; now I tell them I'm in un cuerpo de dama. And, of course, they always greet such comments with that look that says, "Whatever!" Cats perfected it long before humans came up with the word and sullen teenagers started sputtering it.

I'm sure that Mr. Onzain, my first Spanish teacher--who was the best-dressed and -groomed man I had ever seen up to that point in my life--would be speechless at my translation. Whether he'd be speechless over my proficiency or lack thereof in his native language, or simply my audacity in attempting the translation, is an open question. Then again, I wonder what he'd think of that Unamuno quote.

I must still be tired if I'm rambling the way I just did. Oh well. Maybe I'll have another long sleep tonight.

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