December 10th, 2003


The Fourth Possible Answer.

I woke up around 4 AM on Monday night frantically kicking my legs. They weren't kicking on their own - I was doing it because they were driving me crazy.

It's this weird sensation where while your legs are still, they're suddenly overcome with this itch. And it's not your skin that's itching, it's deeper than that, past the muscles and into your bone. Like your marrow is swarming with microscopic eels.

The only way you can alleviate this irritating feeling is to move your legs. Hard. But the moment you stop moving them, the itch comes back. And because you're half-asleep, you have these ridiculous leg-thrashing dreams that take place in worlds ruled by trout people.

This has happened to me twice before, with the last time occurring around four years ago. That's when I'd been sneezing all day, so my girlfriend gave me some allergy medicine her mom had sent her from Korea. So I'd assumed the itch was a nasty side effect. Serves me right for taking the Kia of allergy pills.

Kramer dated a girl with the same problem in a "Seinfeld" episode. He called it "jimmy legs." I looked up the medical term and found that doctors call it Restless Legs Syndrome. Kinda makes it sound like my legs are unhappy with their boring lives and want to move to the big city, where they can pursue a singing career.


Tuesday night, I couldn't fall asleep 'til 4 AM. Not because of restless legs, but because I was wide awake. Insomnia is a motherfucker.

Once again the cause was a mystery. I obviously didn't sleep well at all the previous night, so for that reason I should've blacked out by bedtime. Instead I was lying on my bed, wondering if thinking too much caused insomnia or if insomnia caused you to think too much. And which Disney ride they were going to make a movie out of next.

I used to get insomnia all the time in high school. So much so that it was no longer insomnia, but just how I normally fell asleep. Wasn't all that bad, actually - I got a lot of good thinking done during that hour-and-a-half.

The insomnia stopped as soon as I entered college ... though maybe it had to do with the fact that I normally went to bed around 4 AM. So the time that would've been spent lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, was instead spent eating microwave burritos with my dorm mates.


My boss sat there, looking at me. It then occurred to me that she was expecting me to come up with a line change that the client had asked for.

"It might take a while. I couldn't fall asleep 'til four last night and my ass has been a zombie all day," I explained.

"You stressed about anything?" she asked. "Something worrying you?"

"Not at all," I replied. "I think it's just delayed jet lag."

After she left my office, I wondered if I really was stressed about something. A couple of things did worry me recently - one of them signficantly - but they seem to be under control for now. And after what happened last year, everything in comparison just doesn't seem stress-worthy.

It was then that I noticed a bump on my face. It was a hive. Then another popped up. This was getting fucking ridiculous. What was next? Locusts?

The hives popped up sporadically the rest of the night, one at a time. As soon as one faded away, another would sprout up in another part of my body. What the hell caused the hives? The only thing I had around that time was the same green tea I'd always drank. My body's gone insane.

At eleven, I popped a couple of Benadryls and went to bed. No restless legs, no insomnia. Just sleep this time.


A coworker once told me about this guy he saw while stuck in traffic. The man was driving the car next to his and was clearly agitated about something.

Screaming in the privacy of his own automobile, he started slamming his steering wheel and dashboard with his hands. Then he began to punch the passenger seat and bash his forehead repeatedly against the steering wheel. And then, to my coworker's stunned amusement, he was soon hitting himself in the face as hard as he could.

Everybody deals with things in their own way, I suppose. It's just not entirely healthy to hold things in. Because eventually it finds a way out, and fuck if I ever end up having to punch myself. It's not the prettiest, but I like my face.


And so ...

As I'd mentioned earlier, once again there's something wrong with someone I deeply care about, and once again it's out of my control. But things are proceeding well. And though it'll take some time to treat, the outcome is expected to be good.

Lord knows if that explains my past three nights, but it's the best and only possible reason I could find. I'm pretty good about being thoroughly honest with myself and have a Bull Shit degree in Psychology, but this one baffled me a bit.

In a Murakami book, your subconscious is a hidden world that even you don't know about, despite the fact that you created it. The main character's world was pretty boring, with the only interesting thing about it being its name, The End of the World. I'd like to think mine's got a lot more excitement to it than just its name, which would be cooler than Murakami's of course. And hopefully no trout people. But I'll probably never find out.

At least I know it's got an active nightlife.

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