It is 4:30 a.m. I have awakened after five and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep. I need more, at least one hour. But, after fifteen minutes of counting sheep, male US Olympic gymnasts, and people fired by Trump, I realize I can’t go back to sleep. I get up, flip on a light, and stumble toward my laptop. I complete two online crossword puzzles. The exertion exhausts me. I return to my bedroom and turn on my television, selecting Shaw’s Stringray Music Channel 927. I turn the volume down; I barely hear it. I go back to bed.
Channel 927 is called The Spa. It features music one would hear when getting a massage or in a yoga class. Within minutes, it’s soothing, whispered tones lull me to sleep. I awake an hour later refreshed.
But I find myself staring at the ceiling listening to The Spa’s whispered tones, becoming more and more agitated with each new recording. My agitation morphs into anger. Why, I ask, is there no Grammy Award for Best Spa Music Recording? There are awards for every other form of music: pop, country, R&B, dance, traditional blues, classical, polka, electronic, and Broadway musical cast recording. There is even a Grammy for Best Spoken Word recording.
I suppose the Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences eventually will reward spa music. After all, they add new categories as often as Trump tweets. But, for now, I can only imagine what it would be like if the relaxing, sleep-inducing tones of spa music were to be honored. I envision it as I stare at the ceiling.
Co-presenters Kid Rock and Fantasia enter the Grammy stage as a heavy-metal version of The Chordettes’ “Mr. Sandman” fills the auditorium. The audience, filled with the recording industry’s greatest, applauds.
“We’re here to present the Grammy for Best Spa Music Recording,” Mr. Rock says. “But first, let’s listen to the nominees.” A sample of each of the five nominees is played, title and artist superimposed on the TV screen. The camera pans to the audience. By the second sample, John Legend has dozed off and is resting his head on wife Chrissie Teigen’s shoulder. Across the aisle, country star Travis Tritt sits with his head thrown over his seatback. He is facing upward, gazing with closed eyes at a mammoth crystal chandelier. His mouth is wide open. “Weird Al” Yankovic, seated behind Tritt, is dropping white candies—or possibly pills—into it. One row ahead of Tritt, Jay-Z snoozes, chin on chest. Wife Beyoncé raises his head and places a CPAP over his mouth and nose with care. She is twisted in an awkward position and her left breast escapes her low-cut, skin-tight, glittery gown. While numerous musicians around the couple slumber, the breast is wide awake. Another camera focuses on an aisle seat, empty except for a gaudy gold clutch bag reclined in the corner. Mariah Carey is curled in fetal position on the floor in the aisle next to the seat. She is sucking her thumb.
In the row of seats reserved for 60-year-old lesbians who think they are 30, Ellen DeGeneres dances as if the music were meant for out-dated disco gyrations. Portia de Rossi smiles with embarrassment. Nearby Twitch stands facing Ellen, applauding.
Camera 1 returns to the stage as the spa music sampler ends. Fantasia is yawning. “My God,” she says, “that music is fucking boring.” The “F” word gets bleeped but viewers can read her lips. She smiles as the audience chuckles at her honesty. “The nominees are: ‘Cinnamon Tea’- Bryce Paxton.” The camera catches Paxton looking startled, as if he had been awakened out of a deep sleep. “Flickers of Light,” Fantasia continues as her expression becomes serious, “by Mexico’s Luis de Santos, who isn’t here tonight because he got shot in the crossfire between two White Supremacist groups on his way from LAX this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.” The smile returns to her face. “‘Happy Air’-Dino & Margot” A camera, panning the front row, shows Dino asleep, drooling on his tuxedo shirt. Margot, too, is dozing, awkwardly bent over, her forehead resting on her lap. In front of them, spooning on the floor are two shadowy figures. They have been identified in numerous tweets as a member of One Direction and one of the Jonas Brothers. Their snoring almost drowns out Fantasia as she says, “‘Pause’ by The Oboes of Oslo.” She yawns. “And finally—thank, God, finally—‘Windswept’ by Simone Kormunder.”
“And the Grammy goes to…” Kid Rock looks at the audience. “Oh, I hope it is ‘Pause.’ The Oboes of Oslo opened for me in Norway.” He pries apart the envelope and looks disappointed. “Oh, shit! Dino & Margot for ‘Happy Air.’”
The announcement is met with scattered applause. And snoring. A camera zooms in on Dino & Margot who remain asleep, oblivious to their win. Justin Bieber, sitting next to Dino, nudges the Italian pianist who teeters away from him and falls against Margot’s exposed tattooed shoulder. Neither awakens. Bieber returns to his court-ordered junior high homework. In front of them, on the floor, the reported One Direction snuggles closer to the Jonas. The lighting, which had been dimmed to appropriately showcase the samples of the spa music nominees, lifts and reveals that the spooners on the floor are not a One Direction member and a Jonas at all; they are Eminem and Elton John.
“We accept this piece-of-shit award for Dino & Margot,” Mr. Rock announces with frustration, “as they appear to be as bored with their music as we are.” The twelve people in the audience who remain awake laugh.
A fanfare from the orchestra pit follows Kid Rock and Fantasia as they exit the stage. A mellifluous voice blares over the music. “When we return, Rihanna will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Chris Brown.”
Startled by the booming voice, audience members begin to stir. Stars stretch. Celebrities sit up. The members of an Australian boy-band rub their eyes. Two shift in their seats to hide their erections. In the orchestra pit, the conductor lifts his head off the sheet music on his stand. His metronome awakens. The auditorium comes to life. I, too, return to reality. I’m still in bed staring at the ceiling. In the distance, I barely hear Cassandra O’Reilly’s relaxing “Reverie at Dawn.” I fall asleep.