Lights out, Life's out
Sleep upstages food, water and shelter among my primal needs. This business of calling 2 a.m. an “early bedtime” is absurd. I aim to land in my bed somewhere between 11 p.m. and midnight — and by 11 I actually mean 10:15 p.m.
I tell myself the benefits of sleeping more than eight hours trump the unhealthiness of my obsession with attaining said z’s. As a disclaimer, I confess certain Thursdays — and Fridays and Saturdays — may be excluded from my early-to-bed sleeping habits.
Nevertheless, it holds true that nothing can wake me once I tuck myself in for the night. Frankly, had I been aboard the Titanic, I would have snoozed through the bedlam, groggily asked Rose to scoot over a smidge on her makeshift raft, and zonked out — recalling none of this conundrum the next morning and feeling peachy with five complete REM cycles, provided I’d miraculously survived the crash.
So Tuesday night — or rather, 5:43 a.m. Wednesday morning — when the soggy snow extinguished the power, I should’ve have remained peacefully slumbering. Instead, I awoke within seconds after my fan stopped, my alarm clock dimmed and the McCormick Road streetlamps sucked back in their fluorescent flood. Bug-eyed as nobody’s business and compulsively flitting around clicking the clock buttons and dials, I was assured that yes, the power was out. It was as if my IV had run dry or my oxygen was unplugged. I went immediately into withdrawal, hankering for my voltage fix and fretting about how I could possibly sleep without drowning out the scraping snowplows with music.
What had made me so desperate for the electronics? When had I become such a product of the digital age?
I was reminded of my pathetically unsuccessful Facebook deactivation saga. To my embarrassment, I posted the classic “Sayonara virtual world” status about a month ago — only to silently and shamefully return to Zuckerberg’s creation a week and a half later. Commitment to New Year’s resolutions has never been my forte, but seriously — I couldn’t go more than one weekend without my newsfeed fix? Kate, please.
Honestly though, do the irrelevant bits of information on my news feed drive any self-actualization or mental stability? Not in the slightest. In fact, it’s much the opposite. Every moment scrolling takes away from truly personal communication with friends or, God forbid, time spent on this $23,984 per year education.
I take solace in knowing I’m not alone in this harmful addiction. We all know we should join Techie’s Anonymous. How pathetic that I can’t last 10 days — only 0.14 percent of my life to date — without updating myself on the happenings of people I spoke to once. How absurd that I can’t make it a five-minute walk to class without whipping out the iPhone. How ironic that even in my sleep, my mind jolts awake when my world is unplugged.
I am distressed with myself for being a technology fanatic, or rather an electricity addict. When the lights go out, I feel as if my life’s been robbed of something as vital as the sleep that was interrupted. Apparently though, I am not a lone wolf in this age of electricity. Satellite pictures of Earth at night glow with the first-world nocturnal. Not just Zuckerberg or Dorsey, but Edison too has spoiled us. In this sense, I think we’re all a little bit afraid of the dark.