You know how when half-asleep and half-awake you can get lost in thoughts that are almost like Dadaist films? And if someone happens to come wake you up in the middle of this you start babbling incoherently, like “No, I’m not going to work today because I need to stay and wait for the clothespeg inspector,” and it’s really embarrassing while you sleepily try to explain why the clothespegs need to be inspected (so that your kindergarten teacher can use them in her home renovations, naturellement) and somewhere along the way it slowly begins to dawn on you that no clothespeg inspections will be necessary, you haven’t seen your kindergarten teacher in twenty years, and the other person is laughing their ass off?

(Please God, don’t let this just be me.)

So anyway, this has happened to me a fair number of times while sleeping normally in my bed, but Friday was the first time it was prompted by the particular music I was listening to. Deep in my usual commuting drowse on the bus to work with Hood’s Cold House on the iPod, somewhere around the last 50 seconds of I Can’t Find My Brittle Youth I became convinced that the popcorn machine on the bus was overheated and about to explode. Why was everyone so calm? Maybe I needed to raise the alarm and alert everyone to the danger so we could escape from the bus! Maybe it was too late and we should just all hit the floor to avoid being skewered by flying shards of hot buttered metal!

I jerked awake in shock and stared bug-eyed around the bus for a good five to ten seconds before I realized that springing into either course of action would be a very very bad idea.


  1. As a child, I have been known to wake up from my afternoon nap in a daze, mistake the refrigerator door for the bathroom and … wait a minute. Why am I telling you this?

  2. This not only echoes charmingly with Gondry’s latest film “The Science of Sleep” but also, strangely or not, with my insomnia. To which, moving vehicles, as I’ve been finding of late, is rather a working cure. :)

  3. Benny: You tell me this after I’ve been to your house and drunk drinks that presumably came out of your fridge?

    Shao: I don’t think the film’s come to Singapore yet, either that or I somehow managed to miss it, so I’ll need to see it first before I understand the echoing. But what I can say is that if falling asleep in moving vehicles were a sport I would be world champion. :) Insomnia doesn’t keep me up at night so much as eczema itch does, but unfortunately the best cure I’ve found for that so far is alcohol.

  4. Look, I said I did that ‘as a child’. AS A CHILD. Ok? Geez. You say it as if I do it all the time. I haven’t peed in the fridge for weeks now.

  5. Indeed. That five-to-ten seconds is very important. Wait. Check reality. Relax.

    Apparently, I hold decent conversations in this state, and have been known to give helpful advice on occasion.

    (52 days!)

  6. The Popcorn machine…. ON… the Bus???! thats, when i would have realised I had entered the twillight zone.

    i frequently wake up and answer questions that have been asked in my dreams, much to the befuddlement of the Senorita!!

    and i have woken up feeling guilty for having crashed my car off a cliff and spent the rest of the morning driving VERY carefully (and resisting suggestions to go to the beach)

  7. After 23 years sleeping in the same bed I get really freaked out in the morning when I wake up, and forget for about 15 seconds where the hell I am.

  8. Never sleep in the same bed as a sleep talking teacher. I’m regularly asked to explain whether the boys are on the bus ready for their swimming lessons or how many of the children have finished their Tudor homework.

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