Friday, 10 April 2020 19:19

COLUMN: Coffee can't cure late lethargy

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I'm tired. You would think with all this stuff about staying at home and not doing anything, I would be well-rested. I'm not. Nowhere close to it. 

I truly believe that now that I am doing less, I am more tired. The argument can be made that I am bored and not tired, but I will tell you even when I am at my most bored — like when I am watching a movie my wife likes or I am in the middle of a conversation with my father-in-law — I can stay awake. 

It seems as if I have plenty of time to rest. I get home from work and stay in the house. Sometimes we watch television. Sometimes we read books or play with the cats. Some nights, I write a newspaper column. None of these takes very long and we eventually just pull the plug and go to bed. 

That sounds fine and dandy until I wake up the next morning ready to do it all over again and there is not a cup of coffee big enough on this planet to get me going. I could get one of those expensive Starbucks concoctions with about 30 shots of espresso in it and I'd still feel like I had not slept a wink. I'd probably be in the men's room a lot as well. 

I've asked my doctor at each checkup and he assures me I am just fine and that a lot of folks my age feel as if they are slowing down. I don't mind a little decrease in speed, folks, but I am plain tuckered out. Exhausted. Pooped. 

Someone once told me that the more sleep you get, the more tired you will be. To me that sounds like the more gas you have in your car, the worse it will drive. I think I sleep about eight hours a night. I like to go to bed around 10 and wake up at 6, even on my days off. It's pretty regimented and I have been that way for a long time. I never saw a problem with it until very recently. I'm not gonna be one of those guys like my grandfather who would fall asleep mid-conversation and wake up like he never missed a single word. He did this a lot and once or twice, did it in the car. I took to going with him most places and talking his ear off so he would remain awake. I'm pretty glad I am not a boring speaker. 

There's a coffee place across from work and I could always get a cup of java from there, but they are expensive and I don't want to pay a fortune for a single cup of coffee. I drink one in the car on the way to work, but it's made at home and I don't have to pay five bucks for it. Coffee really doesn't keep me awake, but mostly provides a short little burst of fuel to get me going. 

The other night, my wife and I rented a movie online and we both fell asleep watching it. It was early in the evening when we started it, so there is no reason for us both to fall sound asleep watching it. I suggested to her that, when we want to rent another movie, we're just gonna get a bowl from the kitchen and put four dollars in it. Then we're gonna light the four dollars on fire and watch it burn. That is, if we stay awake. 

I've tried all the gimmicks to stay awake. I have slept more and I have slept less. I sleep pretty soundly once I get to sleep. Often, I will get up in the middle of the night and have a small snack and then go right back to bed. I fall asleep right away and sleep well for a few hours until the alarm goes off. 

Of late, we haven't been doing a lot of the stuff we did before the world went into quarantine. Our routine is knocked out of whack and the new normal goes against our grain. I'm certain we will get back to our old routine in short order and all will be well, just as we get used to the new normal. I think the first thing I am going to do after all this is done is get out with other people. Shortly after that, folks, I think I am taking a nap. 

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.


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