I knew a man who never slept. Who never lived within that blank space of time between drifting off and waking up again. His name, as odd as he, was Herman Merkelmutter.
We were roommates back at MIT. After college we lost touch. I heard he married a woman in Ohio who wrote novels and played a tuba. I think about him now and then and would love to sit down and have a conversation about his inability to suspend his consciousness. Whether he spent his wakefulness in any form of restful rejuvenation. If a slowdown of his brain waves was enough.
My wife Lisa is the librarian at the university where I teach third year creative writing. She’s never been completely awake. The library is the perfect place for her. She’s completely functional and people don’t realize that she’s asleep. She’s a good driver and that’s a plus on long trips.
I’m an eight hours of sleep kind of guy. I get a bit dopey with too much sleep and very grouchy in a bout of too little. It all works out well enough. There are probably hundreds, maybe thousands of people who remain at the extremes of sleep or wakefulness simultaneously. Just as the rest of us are at the extremes of being fully one and later, the other. As a matter of fact, I’m sure we all know a few.
Stop what you’re doing, look around. Who is sleeping? Who is awake?