Joys of Insomnia: A Late-Night Conversation with a Tween

From www.newyorker.com.
From www.newyorker.com.

My house is not a happy sleep place. Sooner or later, someone is destined to rouse me, so I can no longer doze off before the first two or three late-night interruptions. This makes it impossible to relax, read a book, sleep, or participate enthusiastically in conjugal relations. Mostly I just lie there and worry about who will be first to appear bleary-eyed at my bedside.

Last night, it was Miss Twelve. My light was still on low and I was holding a book open, imagining myself being able to concentrate on the words.

Miss Twelve looked at me expectantly. What follows is our conversation, verbatim:

Me: S’up?

Miss 12: What?

Me: S’up?

Miss 12: What?

Me: What’s up?

Miss 12: What?

Me: WHAT IS UP?

Miss 12: What?

Me: Can’t sleep?

Miss 12: What?

Me: IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE SLEEPING.

Miss 12: What?

Me: Do you need something?

Miss 12: What?

Me: HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Miss 12: I can’t sleep.

Me: You can’t sleep and you are DEAF.

Miss 12: What?

Me: YOU SEEM DEAF.

Miss 12: I can’t hear you. I’m wearing ear plugs (removes ear plugs).

Me: WHY WOULD YOU WEAR EARPLUGS WHILE TRYING TO HAVE A CONVERSATION?

Miss 12: I was too lazy to take them out.

Me: (silence)

Miss 12: Anyway. I can’t sleep, so I took some melatonin. Good night.

Ridiculous as it was, the interchange was mercifully brief, and did not require me to get up and rub a back, procure ibuprofen, review for the state capitals test, fluff pillows, discuss the fall of the Roman Empire, fetch an icepack, listen to friend issues, or massage feet–all of which have happened in the past few weeks. Instead, I had plenty of time to worry about the next nighttime visitor.

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