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Robbins: Sleepwalking, the way to get things done

POSTED: May 12, 2014 1:00 a.m.

I have sleepwalked twice in my life.

The first time, I was 9. I got out of bed, walked downstairs, passed my parents watching television in the den, and went into the laundry room. As I reached into the dryer, my parents asked me what I was doing.

“I’m getting something to drink,” I responded vehemently. I then walked upstairs and went back to sleep.

My second sleepwalking episode happened about a couple of years ago. My wife tells me that she woke up in the middle of the night to find me standing at the foot of the bed, muttering and gesturing.

“What are you doing?”

I then turned to her and said plainly, “You don’t have to worry about me ever playing cards with you again.” I then rolled back into bed, or so she says.

The next day, when she told me of my nocturnal declaration, I didn’t remember it at all — or a dream where I vowed to never play cards with someone.

Although I’ve never been much of a sleepwalker, I’ve known a few. A friend of mine used to sleepwalk nightly, and actually do things while he was sleepwalking. I would be at his apartment, hanging out with his roommate, and sleepwalking Daniel would come out of his bedroom and sometimes actually clean up or do chores. If you spoke to him, he would scream at you, usually something nonsensical like: “I’ve never been to Finland, dummy!”

And then he would wander off into the bathroom to scrub the toilet.

This sleepwalking talk got me to thinking, which I rarely do while awake. Why can’t I get myself to sleepwalk and do all the things I don’t like to do while fully conscious? It would be the ultimate in multitasking. If I could accomplish at least 90 percent of my daily tasks while sleepwalking, I could get done almost half of what a normal person does while they are awake.

For instance, Sleepwalking Me would do all the things I don’t like to do: Take out the trash, replace blown light bulbs, change diapers, wash clothes, balance the checkbook, drive the kids to school, go to work, talk to people, etc.

Awake Me would then be able to concentrate on the things I need to do, but don’t currently have enough time to do because I sleep 10 hours a night. Things like: Read a book (all of it), waterski, watch more of “The Simpsons,” finish that sequel to “Big Trouble in Little China” I’ve been writing, spend more time with the kids, figure out how to stop that timer on the VCR from flashing 12:01 all the time, and finally learn to breakdance.

Problem is, it’s hard to find someone to hypnotize you into becoming a sleepwalking multitasker. I’ve tried. Right after I concocted this brilliant scheme, I went to a hypnotist, got hypnotized, but nothing has changed — other than I start quacking like a duck and jump into water whenever someone says “tornado” (or so the police officer said).

I can’t let the dream of the industrious Sleepwalking Me die, though. If you know a hypnotist that doesn’t revel in cruel practical jokes, let me know.

I’m putting off mowing the grass in hopes that I’ll realize my dream soon. Awake Me just isn’t up to it.

Len Robbins is editor and publisher of the Clinch County News in Homerville. His column appears weekly.


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