I woke up at 1:00 a.m. The storm outside awoke me. Or maybe it was an inconsequential internal storm. Anyway, I had only gotten two hours of shuteye and couldn’t fall back asleep.
I got up, toddled to the living room and turned on the TV. I channel-surfed for a while until I landed on Atlanta’s Peachtree TV. Peachtree airs reruns of old sitcoms, among them multi-Emmy Award winning ones like The Golden Girls, All in the Family, and Everybody Loves Raymond. But when I needed Peachtree to rescue me from my battle with insomnia with quality comedy, they were airing back-to-back episodes of the mindless Three’s Company. I didn’t enjoy this 1970s favorite then. I still don’t. I believe it was intended to be a farce; I’d describe it with a different “F” word. I struggled through a few minutes of this silliness, thought it was putting me to sleep, and shuffled back to bed. But I tossed and turned until 2:13 a.m. wondering why that show had been so popular and successful. And then, as I plumped my pillows for the fourth time, I realized that the success of Three’s Company, with its low-brow humor and constant sexual-innuendos, was Obama’s fault. All of it. The silly premise. The vacuous characters. The exaggerated laugh track. Mrs. Roper’s muumuus. Especially the muumuus. Obama, after all, comes from the land of muumuus . . . Kenya.
Exhausted, I sat up, stumbled out of bed, and bee-lined for the television again. This bout of channel-surfing landed me on an infomercial for a red copper ceramic square non-stick pan. “You can grill four toasted cheese sandwiches at once,” the grandmotherly woman boasted with excitement. How could I resist this warm, wonderful, wise woman?
“I have to have that,” I announced as I counted the slices of bread and individually plastic-wrapped servings of quality Kraft cheese I had in the refrigerator. I have enough for a grilled cheese sandwich party with Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, and Justin Trudeau, if they’re available again. I called the telephone number at the bottom of the screen. The East Indian who answered was quite helpful at first. But trouble arose when I made what I thought was a reasonable request. “I’d like it in magenta,” I said.
“This product only comes in red,” the customer service rep said in a voice that could have been male or female. Or neither.
“Oh. So I can’t have it in magenta?”
“No, sir. I’m sorry. Red is the only color available.”
“Do you realize,” I asked, “that you’ve just lost the gay male demographic? And I hung up.
Agitated by this blatant example of homophobic discrimination, I nevertheless returned to bed. But before I could get the third pillow placed correctly between my knees for proper hip alignment and before I pulled my lacy magenta sleeping mask over my eyes, I admitted defeat. The anti-sleep forces in my head won again.
I climbed out of bed, but this time I aimed for my laptop. Maybe there will be something worth reading on Facebook, I thought. I was too tired to know if I was being serious or sarcastic. The screen flickered a bit and when Facebook appeared, I learned that two people, who I don’t know because they are “friends” of Facebook “friends” who I also do not know, updated their photos. Although I didn’t know them, they both looked familiar. The woman, I think, may have played one of the girls Jack Tripper dated on Three’s Company or possibly one of the many men Blanche dated on The Golden Girls. And I may have met the man, I believe, at a Bea Arthur look-alike contest or he may have been an extra in the Regal Beagle Bar scenes on Three’s Company.
In addition, Facebook taught me, in those early morning hours, that everyone on FB has dogs. And they share pictures of them as if they were French fries from Dick’s in Seattle. Some of the dogs, I must admit are cute. But most, I feel, look like they have spent way too much time at the Regal Beagle.
I then discovered a “friend” had shared a very deep and intellectual post asking “What was the #1 Song the Year You Were Born?” What a silly thing to pass on, I thought. It is common knowledge that I, most of my real friends, and the majority of the people still using Facebook were born before music was invented. Another friend shared a site asking readers to name a major city with an “A” in its name, as if this were a challenge. So I typed “Hell,” knowing full well Hell is not a city, but the state of mind of 2016 pre-election America. Then, correcting my sarcastic reaction to the pointless post, I typed “Americaville.”
It was now 2:57. I decided to do one of the daily online crossword puzzles I usually do after my night’s rest. Several clues in, I was faced with “One who causes Ozzie and Sharon Osbourne’s son to stumble.” The answer had eleven letters. Ah. Easy, I reacted. And I filled in “Jack Tripper.”
The next clue asked for a seven-letter answer for “People on Facebook have a lot of them.” Oh, simple, I thought. Friends. Again, I was not certain if I was being serious or sarcastic. Oh, wait, I interrupted my own thoughts. That’s too obvious. Dogpics. The answer is dogpics.
The clue for 29 across asked for a seven-letter “Rocky Horror assistant.” Stylist? Dresser? I tried. Key grip? No. This one is hard, I thought. Oh, here. I got it. And I typed in “Magenta.”
The final clue asked for a 12-letter word for “US town with two “A”s in it. Could it be Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Miami Beach, FL; or San Antonio, TX? I thought. And then it dawned on me. It was “Americaville.” I was overwhelmed with self-satisfaction. Until I started filling in the “Down” clues. Nothing worked. I became very frustrated. Just once, I thought, I’d like these damn crossword puzzle creators to make a puzzle that actually fits together.
It was now 3:41. I aimed for bed again. But this time I stopped at my TV, found the Stingray Music Channel playing chamber music, and turned down the volume so I could barely hear the soothing tones that I hoped would guide me back into Morpheus’ arms. It worked. I was asleep in minutes.
I was awakened at exactly 6:00 a.m. with the sharp report of a nearby firecracker, or cohete as they are called in Mexico. During celebrations or holidays honoring someone or something, it is not uncommon to be awakened this way here. The explosion serves as an alarm clock, alerting townsfolk that it is time to rise and head to the village’s cathedral to celebrate this holiday’s honoree. It is a tradition predating alarm clocks, hotel wake-up service, and garbage trucks. Whose day is it today anyway? I thought as I put on my church-going tank top, denim cut-offs, and flip-flops. I splashed some cold water on my face, attached luggage tags to the bags under my eyes, and headed for the early morning service at the cathedral.
It was not until I was seated in the pew that I realized the day’s honoree was Morpheus. We were honoring the God of Sleep and Dreams. As I reflected on the irony of the situation, I remembered a crossword clue from earlier that morning. It was a three-letter word for “What we sit on at church.” Oh, my god, I corrected myself, it’s pew, not ass!”
And I fell asleep.