Sleep Remedies, Part II

People who take prescription sleep medication put themselves and others into even greater danger. I’ve met two people who were on Ambien, which is a horrible, horrible drug.

One of them was my boyfriend. Once, when we were preparing to go to bed, he shared the following story with me.

“I kept noticing,” he said, “that even when I’d fill the tank of my car in the evening, on the next morning it would be half empty. I had no idea what was going on until one night I discovered myself driving down the highway at full speed at 4 am without having the slightest recollection of how I got into the car and where I thought I was going. I’m on Ambien and I hear that people sometimes do things they can’t remember while they are on it.”

As he finished the story, he took out some pills and prepared to take them.

“What are those?” I asked in horror.

“Well, I just told you, it’s my Ambien,” he said.

“OK, now you will drive me home and then take your Ambien,” I said. “There is no way I’m staying here while you are on those. What if you wake up at night and decide to stick a knife in me? You won’t even go to jail for that because you won’t remember anything.”

“I think I’ll still go to jail,” the boyfriend replied judiciously.

I didn’t feel very comforted by that, though.

I also had a friend who would take Ambien and then start calling classmates to invite them over for sex. Since she had no recollection of what happened, she would then be forced to approach people in class to ask them, “I’m sorry, did we have sex last night?”

Since then, I decided that the best remedies for sleep are natural. Take a walk in the fresh air, have some warm milk with honey, take a relaxing bath. And if none of these remedies work and I don’t fall asleep, then I just won’t sleep. I’ll write and schedule posts for the next week (like I’m doing right now, actually), read a book, explore new apps on my Kindle. Anything is better than giving my mind over to these horrible drugs.

Public Service Announcement

Are you one of those people who can’t get enough of Pride and Prejudice? Do you have strong opinions on whether the BBC series is better than the movie because you have watched both numerous times? Are you mesmerized by the characters and just can’t let them go?

Well, I have good news for you. P.D. James, the grand dame of classical British mystery, has published a sequel to this great novel. It is titled Death Comes to Pemberley. Of course, P.D. James is no Jane Austen. Nobody can really compare to this brilliant, amazing, fantastic writer. (This is a cue to all haters of Jane Austen that this is not a blog for them). But among all of the sequels, prequels and rewritings of Pride and Prejudice, Death Comes to Pemberley is definitely the best.

December is a very harsh month, especially for academics. Finals, grading, finishing up the service requirements, submitting reams of paperwork – all this makes one incapable of processing any profound kind of reading. P.D. James’s novel has come out at a very propitious moment. It is a lot of fun to read about the Bennetts, Mr. Darcy and his sister Georgiana, the Bingleys, and the new people P.D. James introduces into the lives of these immortal characters.

P.D. James is 91 years old right now. I only wish we all preserve her sense of humour and her freshness of perception at that age.

Here is a video of P.D. James discussing her new novel and her love of Jane Austen. Ninety-one years old, people. She should publish a book on how to be so beautiful and alert at that age.

Are Palestinians an Invented People?

I’m no fan of Newt Gingrich (to put it very, very mildly), but when he says that Palestinians are an invented people he is absolutely right.

Of course, they are. Every nation is an imagined community, a fictional construct with very little basis in reality. Every nation establishes a baseless claim to the land it inhabits, invents a shared glorious history, appropriates some figures who command unanimous respect (and who, in their wildest dreams, could not have imagined how their names would be used to support this invented construct), lashes out with hatred and violence against an equally invented Other, and employs a series of mechanisms to provoke an unthinking emotional attachment on the part of the people in order to get them to die enthusiastically and for free for a piece of painted fabric.

Palestinians are as invented a people as are Ukrainians, Spaniards, Germans, Americans, Australians, Pakistanis, etc. The rise of nationalism and the strategies it uses to convince us that nations have always existed and hence should continue to exist have been studied and analyzed probably more than any other political phenomenon. So let’s stop dumping on Newt and start educating ourselves.

Read books, people. Read many good books. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking stupid by Newt Gingrich’s side.

If anybody is interested in understanding how nationalism works, I can provide a list of readings from here to the Moon.

Sleep Remedies, Part I

I always had huge issues with sleep, so I want to share my experiences with sleep remedies. When I was an undergrad, falling asleep became so difficult that I decided to experiment with over-the-counter sleep medication. Two attempts at taking it cured me of the desire ever to try again.

The first time I took half a sleeping pill and got into bed, my sister was sitting in my room, chatting me with me. Suddenly, I felt that I was losing control of my limbs. “Get out of the room!” I told my sister. “I’m about to fall asleep!”

“What’s happening?” she asked.

“I took a pill! I’m about to drop off. Get out!” I yelled. What I was experiencing was so weird that I didn’t want my sister to witness it.

“Can you not do this any more?” the poor child asked me on the next day. “You really scared me.”

I decided to stop but then my insomnia got really bad. I had two midterms one day, and the night before I couldn’t get to sleep no matter what I tried. So I took another pill. It didn’t work. I took one more, but it didn’t work either. I gave up and spent the night reading.

On the next morning, I was on the bus, going to school when the pills kicked in. That was a nightmare, people. During the midterms, I could barely hold the pen in my hand. It kept falling out of my fingers. I found it extremely hard to control my limbs.

After those experiences, I never tried another sleeping pill.

(To be continued. . .)