Sunday, December 04, 2005

must sleep

i spent shabbos by my aunt and uncle this week.

at least, i think i did.

i knew i was tired as i hauled my suitcase up the subway stairs, but i didn't think it was a tiredness of any particular importance. friday, coming as it does at the end of the week, is always a tiring day. nobody expects to feel bouncy.

i made it to my aunt's just fine, about an hour before shabbos, no problem. my aunt tells me to come in, sit down. i ask if there's anything i can do to help, we put in some kugels, and she tells me just to sit on the couch, and she'll be down in a couple minutes, and....

and BAM! some one is calling me for kiddush.

"huh?" i say.

"kiddush," says my cousin.

"is it shabbos?" i say.

"it was shabbos two hours ago," my cousin says, looking at me as if i am from mars.

meanwhile, the three-year-old pipes up: "it's awake! it's awake!"

slightly groggy, i go upstairs, change into my robe, and come back down. my aunt and uncle have two medium-sized children and two small ones, who do such things as climb inside cupboards and jump out on your head when you think you are alone in the room. so their shabbos meal is a hit-and-run affair: take your food, get it off the table, eat it while you can. my aunt and uncle engage in much extremely dry humor, and i notice that my aunt talks a lot like my grandmother, which is eerie, because it means that like my father, i am slowly beginning to go insane. i put my fork down and ruminate on this thought, and...

BAM! "wake up so we can bentch!"

"bentch?"

"yeah, it's eight-thirty!"

"eight-thirty?"

i feel like rip van winkle.

"did i miss desert?"

"you can still have some," my aunt concedes. "why don't you finish your supper first."

desert's pretty good and comes, ironically, from an extremely familiar bakery in chicago, cause that's where my uncle went on a business trip. my aunt and uncle refer to chicago as if it is a small town in indiana, and my aunt expresses surprise that they have a bakery there. i have to go get dressed to go stop by the dean's house (she lives two doors down from my aunt, and invited me on thursday), so i excuse myself and head up to my suitcase...

and BAM! nine-thirty.

"hmm," i say to myself, aloud. "i must be tired."

i do not fall asleep at the dean's house. i decide that i really love her. aside from being fascinated with everything and anything you tell her, she gives off a very comfortable impression, like she knew you since before you were born. also, her husband sounds exactly like alan alda.

back to my aunt and uncle's, where the two parents are trying to simultaneously feed antibiotics to the two youngest children, and my aunt is coughing up a lung. WHOA! i think. when did THAT happen?

'oh yeah,' my aunt tells me. 'the babies all have fevers and coughs. don't eat off their plates.'

'huh,' i think. 'that's not good.'

and BAM!

"are you going to shul? it's nine-thirty!"

the worst part is that the bed i am sleeping in is a futon bunk-bed, which is like what i have at home in my parents' house. so i wake up staring at the bottom of what i think is elana's bed, hearing what i think is my mother telling me to get ready for shul. oh, it is definitely the shabbos from rip-van land. if you listen closely, you can even hear the little men bowling. or thunder.

and it goes on that way for the rest of the day.

"wanna play life with us?" my cousins ask.

"sure," i say. "i'll be down in five minutes."

and BAM! "it's been two hours, are you coming or not?"

"do you want seudat shlishit?"

"sure, just let me say minchah--"

and BAM! "wake up for havdalah!"

so i go back early motzei shabbas, to avoid overlong exposure to my devastatingly cute but uncoolly sick cousins, where i sort of catch the tail-end of the poli-sci shabbaton. that's right. if there's going to be a cool shabbaton, it's going to be the week i'm not there. everyone from the radio station is there. they go bowling, and afterwards we go back to one of the dorms for pizza. there are no plates. someone spills soda all over another guy's pants, which leads to a statement which, i feel, accurately sums up the entire radio station. rachel, the station manager, looks sternly at both parties and says: "this is why we can't have nice things."

after some creative and desperate searching for a place to watch a movie, me and my next door neighbor and weed settle for watching 'moulan rouge' on my laptop in the brookdale lounge, which is like trying to hear music using headphones as speakers in a room where twenty-five other people are talking very loudly. at any given point in the movie, we would make conjectures as to what we thought was going on. it was kind of like a running bet. 'she's going to die now.' 'no, i think she's just...having tuburculosis.' 'no, she's definitely dead now.' 'maybe they're both dead...maybe they're ghosts.' 'no, i think it's just her.' 'if she's dead, she wouldn't be coughing. that would be a sucky afterlife.'

the only person who knew was ellen, my neighbor, who had seen the movie five times already and spent most of it on her cell phone anyway.

i finally get to bed at about two-thirty, so tired i can't move, but for some reason, i don't sleep. i have a few long, semi-real dreams about my parents and family. slowly, my thoughts spiral into one long string of commands, like a strand of dna:

mustsleepmustsleepmustsleepmustsleepmustsleep

as i begin to drift off...BAM! the door opens. light in the kitchen goes on. my roommates are back. i hear one whispering into her cell phone.

'OUT...SIDE,' i say, without opening my eyes. 'I'M...SLEEP.'

i don't know what their response is to that, because suddenly i am just out.

and the next time i am BAM!ed, it is to the sight of my roommate, fully dressed, talking on her cell phone. there's light streaming in through the window, so it must be morning.

'how did you wake up so early?' i ask her, squinting.

'early?' she says, laughing in amazement. 'it's a quarter to noon.'

3 Comments:

Blogger PsychoToddler said...

If I start talking like your grandmother then you'll know you're insane.

12:35 PM  
Blogger MC Aryeh said...

wow! that is some serious sleep you were in need of...hope you are all caught up now!

4:42 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Heh. And finals are coming up, too, aren't they? Get used to it! :)

6:38 PM  

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