How You Feel When You Might Fall Asleep At Work
Your eyes really hurt.
You feel both jittery and sluggish at the same time. Coffee has absolutely made this situation worse. You’re way beyond that 2:30 feeling that 5 Hour Energy magically cures for teenage ravers/interns, ex-cokehead businessmen and child-ignoring housewives.
You’re in big trouble because you’re probably going to fall asleep at work.
Your head starts drooping and the small shaded space under your eyes feels like it’s darkening with sleepiness. You picture a cartoon coyote using quivering toothpicks to keep his flapping eyelids open. Is that possible? Could you use toothpicks to hold your eyes open? Would it hurt? Would the toothpicks break? Would splinters go in to your eyeballs? Gross.
You are so, so tired. Your head spins like you’re on the Dumbo ride at Walt Disney World. Up and down. Around and around. The ceiling lights move like a drinking scene in a movie set at a 1970s disco.
You’re at your desk, but then suddenly you’re at the vending machine. How did you get there? Did you float? Oh. Is there a tiny unicorn for sale in the vending machine?! It’s waving at you from E7. Its tail is multi-colored streamers. Its hooves are Oreo cookies. No, wait. You’re blinking. Your eyes were closed. How long have your eyes been closed? Where did that unicorn/cookie go? A unicookie. Ha. Oh, too woozy for laughter.
Go sit back down. You can’t even walk a straight line. Your knees just buckled. Sit down and at least look like you’re doing some work. Move your fingers. Type. Type type type type. Don’t close your eyes. Don’t close your eyes. Don’t close your… Oh my god, did the lights just go out?
For real, was there a power outage? Lift your head up out of your cubicle like it’s the ocean and your head is a periscope. Is anyone else looking around? Everyone’s still staring at their computers? Oh god, so there was no power outage then?
Stare straight ahead. Just stare straight ahead and don’t blink.
Could you sleep in the bathroom? What if you just sat on the toilet and leaned your head against the side and closed your eyes for a minute? You could stay sitting up. Horses do it. You’re better than some horse! You can eat cheesecake and wear a sweater and go to the movies. That’s more than any horse has ever done! You have thumbs and a degree from a real life college, for Pete’s sake. Horses don’t have either of those!
Unless… Did Mr. Ed ever go to college? Did he ever work in an office? What if Mr. Ed was going to fall asleep at work but then he went into the bathroom and leaned his snarling head against the little tampon box and took a nap? No one would notice, right? Because he’s a horse?
Whoa! Sit up! Your head was just down! Your head was in your arms at your desk! I don’t think, “I was just remembering that awesome game from kindergarten called Heads Up 7 Up! Ha ha ha ha ha. Remember that game?” is going to work as an excuse when your screechy boss catches you. You’ve got your keyboard imprinted on your forehead and drool stringing down your mouth. Was that part of Heads Up 7 Up too, you barely-functioning baby?
What can you do? You’re just going to fall asleep, that’s all. There’s nothing else to do. You’re a human. You have human needs like sleep and crossword puzzles and Netflix. No one can fault you for this! This is beyond fault! Are they going to fire you just for being a person? No! This is America! You’ll sue them for disruption of a heightened anabolic state!
It just hurts to stay awake at this point. Christ, you should have your shit together by now. You should go home after work and cook (Yes! Cook!) a healthy dinner and have one glass of classy-ass wine and read that book that’s covered in cobwebs on your night stand and go to sleep at a decent hour like 10 or some bullshit.
Today is a wake-up call in the most ironic sense.
This is the last time you’re going to be this tired at work, you promise yourself.
The vending machine unicorn is your only witness.
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Bonus points if you actually use different voices/accents for the different people in the imaginary conversation. That is a prestigious level of shower insanity.
I had a number of other essays I wanted to write tonight. There were other topics that deserved attention, essays I humbly felt might shed light on the human condition, on the difficulties and odd experiences we all deal with on a daily basis. But here I am, writing a defense of pubic hair.
6. The Usual Suspects
When your audience is this big, how can you really “know” it?