I checked the clock for the umpteenth time. If Terry didn't get home soon, it could mean something horrible -- I'd have to pack my own lunch.
Slowly, layer by layer, a memory poked up through the fog. When we were falling asleep the other night, didn't she say something about having to work late?
Let's see, there was the purple hippo pushing the baby buggy. That girl in the fish dress stood by the light socket and asked about the history assignment. Then there was --
Yeah, that's it. Terry shook my shoulder and told me she had to work over two hours. Yeah.
Wait a minute. History assignment? When did I go back to school?
We simply MUST start getting more sleep.
Experts say sleep deprivation is an epidemic. It's also great entertainment.
Terry works a day shift. I work nights. Too many of our conversations happen either when I'm crawling into bed or she's crawling out. I can't remember half of them. She only remembers the wrong halves.
''Tell me again about the flying gorilla at the baseball game. Were there two men on second base or three?''
''What are you talking about?''
She shrugged. ''That's what I asked you. You just yelled louder, 'The flying gorilla, tag the flying gorilla!'''
''You're making that up. Anyway, did you call Dave?''
I threw up my hands. ''I told you two nights ago. He needed that serial number from you by yesterday or you wouldn't get the part.''
''You didn't tell me to call Dave.''
''Yes, I did. I asked if you were awake, you opened your eyes and said yes, I told you I talked to Dave like you asked me to do, you said you'd get him that number, then you closed your eyes again.''
Terry shook her head. ''Who's Dave?''
Confusion and forgetfulness are among the problems caused by sleep deprivation, according to researchers.
All the stress and busyness of our waking hours wreaks havoc on our synapses, neurons and other pieces and parts of our brains. Deep sleep is when the brain gathers up all the loose wires and plugs the connections back in between the nerve cells.
The less sleep one gets, the more discombobulated the brain.
Also, without sleep, a person fumbles around with the same motor skills as someone who's legally intoxicated. Plus, you see things that aren't there. The sleepless brain can't compute both the images in front of you and those popping up off your peripherals.
So the brain makes things up.
Add to that the flying gorillas and girls in fish suits that you see in those fuzzy moments between asleep and awake, and things just get weird.
Terry woke me up the other night as she was struggling to get out of bed.
''Whaaa?'' I snorted.
''I need to hang the marmalade up to dry.''
''I already did. -- Snixx -- Go backta bed.''
Twenty minutes later, my eyes snapped open. Hang up the marmalade?
I nudged Terry. ''You're s'posed to iron it.''
''I'll giddid inna mornin','' she mumbled.
Communication is the key to a strong marriage. The purple hippo said so.
---- Sleep talk with Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.