Even on the rare occasion when I go to bed at a decent hour, it’s not like I can actually go right to sleep. This is when my brain decides it’s the perfect time to rehash the events of the day, all the shit I should have gotten done and everything I need to do tomorrow.
Let’s think about the laundry! it says, suddenly energetic despite the fact that I was exhausted by dinnertime. Oh, and the mortgage! And the kids’ school performance. And the weather forecast. The grocery list. That recipe from Pinterest. The article someone posted on your Facebook wall. And that boyfriend you had for two weeks in eighth grade who unceremoniously dumped you for the girl with the big boobs. Let’s think about ALL THE THINGS!
Meanwhile, beside me, my husband is blissfully unaware of my internal monologue’s inability to shut the fuck up. The second his head hits the pillow, he’s practically in a coma. I’m not sure when he thinks about stuff — while he’s pooping for an hour, maybe? — because it sure isn’t when he goes to bed. His eyes close, and he’s out like a light.
It’s not his fault, I know, but I can’t help feeling a little bit resentful. What I wouldn’t give to be in his shoes (uh, slippers?), able to catch some zzz’s without having to chase them a hundred miles first. But whatever. He works hard, and I don’t begrudge him a peaceful slumber. It’s not the fact that he can go immediately to sleep that makes me want to stab him every time we hit the sheets. It’s the fact that he snores — loudly and relentlessly — every single night.
It’s hard enough to fall asleep when your thoughts are racing a mile a minute, but it’s next to impossible when there’s a cacophony of clicks and rumbles and rasps happening a foot from your ear. He has an impressive range of sounds and a different snore for every night — the “Rusty Chainsaw Cutting Through Styrofoam,” the “Vibrator Running Out of Batteries,” the “Asthmatic Darth Vader,” the “Bitterly Disappointed Bee,” and the “Horse Eating an Extra-Juicy Apple,” just to name a few. I might actually appreciate such variety if it weren’t, I don’t know, the most annoying sound on the face of the Earth.
I always start out by attempting to ignore it. After all, it’s not like he purposely sets out to annoy me; he’s oblivious to the fact that it sounds like he’s trying to inhale the curtains (the neighbors’ curtains). But settling into a peaceful slumber while there’s a wind tunnel wheezing in your bed is like trying to clean your teeth with crumbled Oreos: No matter how hard you try, it’s never gonna happen. And even though I naïvely hope every night that this time I’ll be able to fall asleep despite the chorus of XXXNNNNRRRRRRRRGGGHHHHH going on next to me, it never happens.
I start out politely poking him with an extended index finger and a soft, almost apologetic whisper of “Pssst … you’re snoring.” Sometimes, when I get really lucky, he’s sleeping lightly enough for it to work, and he turns over on his side. But that’s, like, 1 out of every 12 times. The other times, the poke is useless. It’s too gentle, and therefore ineffective, like tossing a beanbag at a burglar.
I lie there with my eyelids clamped closed, breathing deeply (and silently) through my nose, trying to will myself into a Zen-like state that transcends my annoyance. But there it is, bubbling up like a pot beginning to boil. So the poke-and-whisper morphs into a firm nudge to the shoulder and a louder hiss: “You’re snoring.”
The thing about snorers is that they’re usually heavy sleepers. So the nudge, while a step above the poke, still proves ineffective most of the time. But rather than lose my shit, I try again to go to sleep despite the racket. I’m in control of my reactions! I can rise above! I’m tranquil, dammit! I try to focus on other noises — the fan, the wind outside, my own breath. I try putting earbuds in and listening to some calming music.
I can’t hear any of it over the sound of Sir Snnnnxxxxkkkhhh-a-Lot.
The annoyance turns into straight-up pissed-off-ness. “Tranquil” flies out the window and I’m seething inside, mentally locating the nearest dirty sock and fantasizing wildly about the creative ways I’d use it to muffle the incessant, repetitive, maddening, infuriating noise.
But instead, I channel my irritation into a well-placed shove and an exasperated groan: “You’re snoring!” At that point, my husband can’t help but wake up.
“Geez,” he huffs groggily as he turns onto his side. “Why are you so hostile?”
As the sweet, sweet sound of bedtime silence descends upon me at last, my anger subsides. My breathing regulates. I can finally begin to clear my mind, and as I lie there enveloped in peaceful darkness, my eyes become heavy as I slip into the long-awaited embrace of much-needed slumber. Until…
Tomorrow night I’m keeping that dirty sock under my pillow.