Being unemployed sucks on a daily basis. But there is relief for the unemployed: unconsciousness. Those of us who have learned to sleep all day avoid all of the unpleasantness that makes unemployment so damn unpleasant.
And for creative people – artists, writers, composers – it’s a win-win because a lot of the creative process happens when you’re asleep. In fact, I was asleep when I wrote this.
It’s no easy task achieving a state of daily oblivion. Here are some tips to help you stay asleep until the sun goes down:
- Start your sleep training in the winter, when your body is more inclined to hibernate.
- When you retire for the night, close all your curtains or shades tightly. The last thing you want when you’re trying to sleep all day is annoying daylight.
- If you don’t have black-out blinds or curtains, use a pair of sleeping eye masks.
- Turn off your phone.
- Stay up late watching TV. Since you can’t afford HBO or Netflix, you’re going to have to endure a lot of commercials unless you use my trick of checking out DVDs from the library. Staying up cuddling with your remote tonight paves the way for hours of unconsciousness tomorrow. (Note: if you decide to read instead of watch TV, make sure it’s something compelling enough that you don’t fall asleep too early.)
- Do not drink too much alcohol before bed. This is sort of counter-intuitive because you may want to be blotto so you can forget about the whole unemployment problem, but make sure you sober up before you go to sleep because alcohol has a way of messing with your sleep patterns.
- If you wake up – keep your sleep mask on. Flip your pillow or otherwise get yourself comfortable again, and then Remain Still. No tossing and turning. If you still can’t get to sleep and are really determined, take an Ambien if you haven’t already taken one.
- Reduce your caffeine consumption. No caffeine whatsoever after 3 PM. (If you are successful in sleeping past 3 PM you should not have any caffeine at all.)
- If you have a dog that requires early-morning walks you will need to get someone else to walk it or give the dog to a friend who is employed. Pets are not helpful companions when you’re trying to achieve diurnal sleep.
You will wake up at 6 AM or 7 AM – your body trying to insist you are a normal, working person with a normal circadian rhythm. This is a pivotal moment – will you or your body win? Here’s how to beat your body back into submission:
- You probably just need to pee. Get up and pee. At 6 AM it’s still dark enough to convince your body that it’s a nocturnal elimination.
- When you get up to go to the bathroom, try not to turn on any lights, or, if you must, keep them as dim as possible.
- Return immediately to your bed. Do not stop to check FaceBook. Don’t even think about coffee.
- Get your pillow just right and remain still. Do NOT toss and turn. The object here is to trick your body into thinking it’s still asleep.
- Take an Ambien. Taking a sleeping pill during the day shows a level of dedication that might not be appreciated by the uninitiated (or employed) observer, so save this for last resort.
Soon you will find you’re sleeping until 10 AM, 12 PM, even 3 PM. It’s like being a teenager again! You have achieved mastery when you’re able to sleep until 5 PM – Miller Time!
Some people may say that this is crazy, depressive, etc., but you’ll know at the end of the day all of the shit you’ve avoided. No scary bills to see, no wasted hours filling out applications online that produce only bland acknowledgements or dispiriting rejections, no fraught checking of the bank account balance online, no expensive eating or driving or wearing of clothes, no expensive phone calls, no vituperative calls from collection agencies, no wasted hours on FaceBook looking at pictures of other people’s vacations, no annoying chores – cleaning, dusting and doing laundry – who cares? You’re unconscious!
One caution: to maintain your sleeping habitat, you should not use this technique every day. At least once a week you’ll have to get up, collect your mail, pay your bills, apply vainly for food stamps and whatnot. You’ll be able to fill out enough employment applications in one day to create a whole week’s worth of rejections.