May 26, 2009

In Which Our Hero Is Cranky And Does Not Wish to Get Out of Bed

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:35 am by Ian

I do not like my mouth guard. It is a bulky rubber thing that is supposed to keep me from grinding my teeth slowly but relentlessly into powder during the night, but what it mostly does is prevent me from falling asleep. I keep it right next to my bed, so that I can put it in just right before I think I’m going to drift off. Usually I miss it, but sometimes I remember.

And I am instantly wide awake. Transfixed. That part of my brain that—when I was twelve—kept my tongue on a strict regimen of wiggling that loose tooth back and forth, over and over, even after the dull salty flavor of blood indicated that maybe maybe I should give it a rest, that part of my brain has lain dormant for years, just waiting for something this interesting to happen inside my mouth again. And so my tongue is over here along the underside of the guard, probing for weaknesses, and then it is running its way along the smooth part on one side, and then the other. Sometimes, it decides to block the air holes in the mouth guard, and the part of my brain that’s supposed to remember to breathe through my nose is otherwise engaged and chhckk hac cough cough, and eventually, after lying here for what seems like hours I take the damned thing out again and put it on the bedside table and I can finally get some sleep.

Then, in the morning, my jaw hurts.

I had thought that I was making some real inroads with the cat. Recently, she has taken to sleeping alongside me, about in line with my head and just far enough away that I can reach out my hand and rest it against her softly rhythmic side as I’m going to sleep, which is very comforting in a “real life stuffed bear” sort of a way, and is only slightly diminished by the times that—in the middle of the night—she starts doing that kneading motion that cats do to indicate that they really like you, except for this bit of skin right here, and I have that dream where I’m being tortured by some nefarious organization of hooded individuals who are plunging ornately bejeweled curved daggers into the back of my hand, between the finger tendons, until I finally awaken and there are actual curved daggers being driven into the back of my hand!

But last night I found her blanket, and put it back on the end of the bed, which is of course where she slept. She doesn’t love me any more. I mean, sure, she loves me a little, but this is her blanket we’re talking about. I can’t really compete. I don’t smell right.

Three day weekend: not long enough.




  1. Jared Hersh said,

    I can tell you’ve been reading DFW.

  2. Ian said,

    It’s good for the wordcount. You should see the terse posts I make when I’m reading Hemingway.

    • mama said,

      I enjoyed this post. The section on your mouth guard reminded me of one of the 4 day weekend intensives I spent in my third year of Feldenkrias training where we explored the insides of our skulls including our mouths.
      During one Awareness Through Movement lesson which went on for a few hours, well an hour and a half actually, as we were instructed to outline each tooth with our tongue. Then measure, with our tongues, the distance between the right side of our upper teeth and the left side of our upper teeth. Then, the instructor instructed (as they do) us to measure the distance between where our upper teeth ended and the roof of our mouths. Now compare the two… Blah blah Blah…somewhere along in this fascinating exploration, I wandered off mentally. I mentally returned with a snort and trying desperately to act like I hadn’t so rudely stopped concentrating on what the instructor had been saying I began to scramble to listen. I attended like mad to what the instructor was instructing us to do now in that very moment. The guided instructions went something like…”And now the waterfall in the inside of your head… “What!”, my water-soaked brain said, as it tried frantically to find the source of the waterfall and made a quick little inventory of the previous guided tour, sprinting from sinus cavity to the back of my throat to molars to nasal passages to eye sockets..all the while swimming through oceans of water plummeting down from… where? I was in the sinking Titanic!!! Where was all the water coming from and where was that emergency turn-off valve I know I saw somewhere during our pre-flight boarding lecture. I was panicked and almost drowned by now. Finally, the instructor said enough words for me to catch up with the class on its group journey around the wonderful world of the interior of the skull. Somehow the waters began to mercifully recede. I was going to live. I cleared my throat loudly and began to relax again.
      After the lesson was over, not having been humiliated enough by the gurgling panic-stricken reaction I had been having in the front row of the class, all the while being videotaped for posterity, I raised my hand. I will never forget the look on my Education Director’s face when I asked, “You now when I wander off mentally? (She nodded that she understood so far.) …Where do I go? It was such an odd look of bewildered puzzlement that I began laughing. I laughed loudly. I laughed until the tears came. I continued to laugh. The whole class was held silently transfixed by my laughing. I intuitively knew I should stop laughing any time now. But I couldn’t. And the more I tried to stop, the more ridiculous it seemed that I could not stop so, of course this was funny to me. Again…where was that shut off valve? Help.
      Now normally, as students we were not allowed to view any video tape of a class we had even partially attended. But I had joined the class two month late and as a graduation requirement I had to watch the whole 8 hours of taping for the 4 day intensives which I had missed. Allison, the administrative assistant, was very pregnant at the time and, in error, sent me the wrong tape one month and I got to watch myself during this episode. Any hope that I had harbored, in retrospect, that maybe my behavior hadn’t been as bad as my recollection of it, was obliterated. Ah the glories of the mouth.

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