My Talent for Sleep (2)

So many times during my life, I have had to subsist on a minimum of rest, and I became an expert on sleeping. I learned how to snatch a brief nap of fifteen minutes between shifts at work, snooze during meal breaks, sleep on busses and airplanes and trains. I taught myself to fall asleep instantly and awaken just as fast. When I slept, I slept soundly. I became a master of sleeping.

Since I retired from NSA, I’ve written fulltime and have given presentations and readings at an ever-increasing rate. Once again, I find myself hard put to find enough time to rest. So I’ve become creative. When I have the evening to myself, I put off dinner until eight o’clock, then go to bed, usually by nine. That means I awaken around four in the morning. I work until eleven or so, then eat and sleep for an hour. Then I have the whole afternoon for work. If I’m doing a presentation or a reading, I rearrange my schedule and sleep whenever I can.

As a consequence of the life I’ve chosen to live, my expertise at sleeping is unmatched. I can drop off at a moment’s notice. My sleep is deep and undisturbed. I can sleep in almost any circumstance, alone or surrounded by others. When necessary, I awaken instantly.

Most of my physical and mental abilities have become impaired as I age. Many tasks now take me longer to do than they once did, and the results are less than perfect. But in two activities I’m better than I ever was before. One is writing which keeps improving with time and experience. The other is sleep. I keep getting better at it.

I know writers who are better than I am, but among sleepers I remain unsurpassed.

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