There've been too many serious posts lately. By everyone else, I mean, not me (lately there haven't been any posts from me, silly.) It's high time we talk about something ridiculous. (High time? Where did that come from? My inside voice is shouting something about Bob Marley, but reason and 20 seconds of research tell me that Leo Tolstoy also used the phrase in his opus, War and Peace, which predates Marley by about a hundred years.*)
So I couldn't sleep the other night.
If you were born before January 1st, 1994, you might not have heard of this popular saying that's been going around the internet for a couple of years now... it's the kind of thing that emotionally-turbulent teenagers (a category I do not fall into :)) just eat up. It goes like this:
Legend says, when you can't sleep at night, it's because you're awake in someone else's dreams.
Ha! My sister Julianna is rolling her eyes, I can FEEL IT! Everybody loves legends, but everybody especially loves those legends that just might possibly maybe could be true. I would propose that the readers of such a statement generally fall into four categories:
- Those blissful, ever-accepting ones who pretty much believe anything the internet whispers.
- Those optimistic, somewhat sleep-deprived ones who believe it because there's no evidence against it.
- Those somewhat pessimistic, well-rested ones who refuse to believe it because there's no evidence for it.
- Those people like me, who think there might be some evidence after all.
If you find yourself in the first three categories, HANG ON TIGHT! And don't be too serious.
Before we get started, we need to clarify the Legend a little bit. It was put in very general terms, but that's only going to cause problems later down the road. We had better rephrase it, "Legend says, when you inexplicably can't sleep at night, it's because you're awake in someone else's dreams." Because you might just have a tummy ache, or a head ache, or a tooth ache, or restless leg syndrome, or maybe you drank too much water before bed and now you have to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes, or maybe you swallowed your toothpaste while you were brushing your teeth and now you can't stop wondering about fluoride poisoning and the chemicals they put in the city water and the government slowing making us stupid by conspiring with the dentists to convince us to remove our wisdom teeth. I wonder about those kinds of things too. We could be friends.
Anyway, the thing about this "legend" is that most people assume its veracity based on the [apparently] improvable nature of it (the #2 people)... since you're alone, on your own bed, trying to fall asleep, you can't really disprove that someone isn't dreaming about you. And if you're a teenager, you're certainly hoping someone is ;) But I think there are necessary side-effects to this legend, or to state it another way, "What would things look like if this were true?"
The first thing that came to my mind was BABIES! See, babies and toddlers and such are always waking up and yelling at the top of their lungs at all the inconvenient times. But! Their mothers are always dreaming about them!
Now, someone will say that we have to throw in the proviso that the converse of the Legend is not necessarily true . What I mean is, if we rephrase the Legend into the conditional, "If you can't sleep, then someone is dreaming about you", then the converse of that is "If someone is dreaming about you, then you can't sleep". But the converse doesn't have to be false, see, because just as we can't know if someone else is dreaming about us while we're awake, we also can't know if someone else is not sleeping while we're dreaming about them, because at that moment we're not quite conscious.
Now with that in mind, back to the babies! Their mothers (and maybe their fathers, but not as much) are always dreaming about them, worrying about them- you know, mothering about them- and therefore the infants have trouble sleeping. Makes [nearly] perfect sense! So maybe babies are little evidences (hehe) that this legend is true.
Then I was thinking, "What about famous people?" See, celebrities must get dreamt about pretty much 24/7- especially with all those creepy stalker people who have those creepy candle-lit rooms full of creepy pictures of famous people. Methinks someone must always be dreaming about some famous person because at least 40% of the earth is asleep at any given time (says the Yahoo user with the name Ding-Ding), and celebrities are famous well beyond just 40% of the population. So, even though we don't know what everybody on the earth is dreaming about at night, we would suspect that one of those 28 billion people is causing sleeplessness to some celebrity. We would suspect that someone like Rihanna, for instance, who has a Klout score of 93, would have sleep problems. And she DOES! And other celebrities do too! It's all over the internet, all these famous people admitting they can't get to sleep. So that there is some very posh evidence for ya.
And then I thought about all those people who are in the first throws of love (emotional love, that is), those young adults who live miles apart, but lie in bed all night dreaming about each other. Normally one of them is stuck wide-awake and they can't get to sleep and they can't call their other half because their other half is asleep... dreaming about them! This makes [nearly] perfect sense as well.
And that made me wonder if you could use sleep as a sort of sneaky sonar device. I mean that if you both are awake, and can't get to sleep (and have already run through my list of possible sleeplessness causes), then there must be two other people dreaming about both of you at that moment**. That would be nuts!
And then I was thinking a bunch of other things about statistics and how many people you would have met at any given moment in your life, and how many people in the world are having sleep difficulties, and how many people could possibly be asleep, dreaming about you, and how to factor in timezone differences, and people who work night shifts, and things like that. And Kevin Bacon, I was thinking about Kevin Bacon a little bit.
And then I fell asleep.
*Another 30 seconds of research revealed that Shakespeare used the phrase as well, in his Comedy of Errors. High time, like the sun is high in the sky, like half the day is over, like let's get a move on things. I think that's the idea.
** OR one person with both of you in their dream, in which case it's probably your little sister.