I have narcolepsy. I am also an identical twin. Other than having earnt me some awesome sci-fi credentials, these two facts about me are linked in another way: they both lead to the same painfully frequently asked question:
“What’s it like?”
Grimace. Bite tongue. Unbite tongue. I don’t know. What’s it like not being a dozy bugger? What’s it like not having a free kidney-donor wandering around the world? Similarly, when I started this blogging challenge and requested suggestions for themes, a distressing number of people who should have known better suggested narcolepsy. It’s not like I don’t sometimes write about it already, but is this really the most interesting thing about me?
Don’t get me wrong: I know my condition is rare, freakish, silly, often hilarious, medically fascinating, and open to spectacular, awesomely awful Freudian ⇐ If you’ve never followed one of my links, make that the one you do.interpretations. I’m happy to dispense the odd nugget about it, or to relate the more amusing incidents it has lead to (cat-fart: still gotta do the cat-fart). But you, my strangely consistently-sleeping friends, should know by now that—though I will not pretend it is not a buggeration of the first order, and that it affects almost everything I do and every decision I make—it is a triviality as far as I view myself.
So, for you weird non-narcoleptics, just to keep you happy, some questions and a few notes:
- What do you do when you’re bored? Seriously? Why don’t you just put your head down and nap through the rest of that boring lecture or crappy film? I thoroughly recommend it.
- When do you get your pulp reading done? Personally, I feel guilty reading enjoyable trash during daylight hours, but I’ve worked my way through most of Kurt Vonnegut’s canon during the fragmentary sleepless periods of the night.
- Do you really have to drive everywhere? (The environmentalist in me seconds that question.)
- When you use the expression “Only seven more sleeps till Christmas,” you do realize that that means it’s gonna start later this afternoon, don’t you?
- If we’ve just met, and I have to tell you that I have a condition that makes me fall asleep a lot, laughing and saying “Oh, I think I must have that,” is, umm, probably best avoided unless you want to see me fall over with irritation.
- If you’ve known me for a while and haven’t yet worked out that, though cataplexy may be triggered by laughter, the severity and length of the consequent attack is unconnected to the level of amusement, you really need to. Telling me to “Get a grip,” or chiding me that “It wasn’t even that funny,” whilst I am struggling to control my breathing and worrying about whether my head is about to bounce off the floor a few times is somewhat lacking in sensitivity, to put it mildly.
- I wasn’t drunk when I fell over.
- Oh, um, …
- I wasn’t that drunk when I fell over.