You can teach this dog new tricks, but damned if I can unlearn the old ones

I was (half-) joking with someone a few months ago about how I have a chameleon lifestyle, in that when I’m around normal people, I adopt normal-people living habits, mainly in terms of eating and sleeping. I eat meals, actual meals, at their respective socially-acceptable times, and I fall asleep and wake at (relatively) normal hours, and I do it like I’ve been doing it my whole life without pause and I’ve known no other way of existence.

I did this every time I went to D.C. (with the exception of eating breakfast; I think I might have skipped breakfast most days) and Austin, but then as soon as I came back home, left to my own devices, I immediately fell back into abnormal existence, where the literal breakfast (literal as in, the breaking of a fast, or the first meal of the day) wasn’t until 10-14 hours after having woken up, and probably god couldn’t even tell when that was going to be because there wasn’t a whole lot of waking up going on, mostly because there wasn’t a whole lot of falling asleep going on, what with the whole habit of not-sleeping or not-going-to-bed-until-dawn and so on.

But since mid-November, with the exception of eleven days (which constituted study and finals weeks, so even the normal people weren’t living normal hours), I’ve been co-habitating with a normal person, either here in Vegas or up in the Bay. That’s two-and-a-half months of normal living. Dude. That’s a really long time. To the point where earlier this week, the fact that we’d stayed up until 1 or 2 a.m. the night before was commented upon and I was asked if I keep those kinds of hours when I’m in Las Vegas, and I blinked and said, no, actually, it’s usually later when I’m at home, and I’ve been getting the most sleep I’ve had in a long time while I’ve been in Oakland. And as the words were leaving my mouth, my brain was thinking, is this right? are you sure you’re not exaggerating? because this feels like a lie.

Except, I got home tonight, right? No, that’s wrong, I’m sorry, it was yesterday because now it’s already Saturday and it’s been Saturday, technically, for well over five hours already; but since having arrived home, I’ve been unpacking and cleaning and organizing and cleaning more and fixing this and that and making list after list of Things That Need to Get Done and efficiently checking items off those lists, and yes, I’m still wired. Wired. For no reason other than– or so it would seem– I’ve reverted to solo mode. Two-and-a-half months of a sane, normal life, and my first day alone and I’m back to manic insomnia, and so easily, so fluidly, like I’ve been doing it my whole life without pause and I’ve known no other way of existence.

I can’t even sigh over this, I’m so accustomed to it– but there’s some reassurance in knowing I can still shrug over it. Nothing like a hearty shrug of good-natured exasperation. And anyway, at least I don’t work at a machine shop.

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One thought on “You can teach this dog new tricks, but damned if I can unlearn the old ones

  1. I was struck by the way you said you have chameleon-like tendencies. I’m an Asian 20-something, and I feel like most people like myself who are self-aware also have chameleon-like tendencies. Maybe being good at adapting to situations is a generational thing? Or a racial thing?

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