I am ironing my shirt and listening to the radio via the computer. I am listening to my favourite Radio 4 show called “Down the Line” and giggling at Felix Dexter’s grotesque exaggerations. I finish ironing my shirt. It is about 9.00 p.m. I am being organised. I run upstairs to get my other shirt. I come back down and click on “popurls”.
Something catches my eye. I click, then I click again, once more and suddenly, before you can say “Paypal” the shirt is forgotten and I am salivating over my next essential, life enhancing product.
“It’s a life coaching system,” boasts the title bar.
“energy and stress, health and fitness,” it entices.
I am a bit scared of some of the NLP disciples I’ve met.
It always freaks me out when, after having talked to someone for a while and felt remarkably comfortable with them as if I have known them all my life they suddenly say “something, something else, yeah, something 67% according to NLP” and I say to them “Oh, do you do NLP?” and they say
“Oh, I’ve just done a couple of courses,”
and I say
“Have you walked over hot coals then?”
and they say
“Yeah, it was brilliant,”
and I look at them and they are standing with a terrible slumped posture and I realise “THAT’S MY POSTURE, YUCK” and then I notice they are repeating the words that I use most frequently back to me and I think “OH OH OH IAMSUFFOCATINGIMUSTESCAPE,” and I say “Uh, I’ve just realised I’ve got go and stand over there for a little while.”
Despite this, the website makes a claim that I can’t ignore.
It says it will give me sleep. It will make me feel rested. It will make me feel energised.
I would love to feel awake again. To feel clear. I'm about 3 hours less sleep away from Tyler Durden.
I suddenly go into a clicking, downloading and password frenzy.
Click Reviews, read the buzzy headlines, click download, click trial, enter email, click download trial, click back to buzzy headlines, before download of trial is complete decide I can’t possibly live another minute without the full version of this product, click “full version”, click paypal, enter username, password, click, click, click, yes have as much as you want just give me sleep sleep sleep yes, click, yes, click click click.
Within 10 minutes I have the full version on my desktop, am generating my own 20 minute sleep programme to download onto my iPod shuffle and wondering how much $50 is in real money.
My iPod shuffle. Where’s my iPod shuffle?
“WHERE’S MY IPOD SHUFFLE? WHERE’S MY FUCKING IPOD SHUFFLE?”
“I’m not sure. Have you looked on the shelf?”
“It’s not there…” I am slamming through the bureau drawers. “SHIT, where is it. Are you sure you haven’t seen it anywhere Polly?”
“I saw Mick with it the other da..”
“MICK? DON’T YOU THINK THAT MAYBE YOU COULD STOP ENCOURAGING MICK TO PLAY WITH MY FUCKING IPOD SHUFFLE?”
“Well, when Mick was playing with it the other day I took it…”
“FOR FUCK’S SAKE, IT’S NOT A FUCKING TOY, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST ST...Oh, here it is Polly,”
“..and put it on the shelf,” says Polly. Luckily she is grinning at me, albeit in a “you really are a prick,” kind of way.
“Anyway, why do you suddenly need your iPod shuffle?” Polly says.
“I just downloaded this amazing thing off the internet. It makes a sound file which will send you to sleep and which will guide you through a power nap. It is apparently all NLP,” I say, surprised at myself for openly loving NLP all of a sudden.
“Oh. Is it free?” Polly says.
I run out of the room and shout “I can’t wait to try it, it is excellent,”
I spend another frantic 3 minutes trying to export the file directly to the iPod shuffle, which doesn’t work properly so I have to spend 7 minutes on a workaround.
Eventually I am lying in bed, iPod shuffle next to the bed, Sennheisers in hand.
“Now Polly, listen, please don’t hit me or poke me or try to wake me up when I’m doing this, I really want to try it out properly”
“Of course not David,” says Polly.
“Really Polly, please don’t wait until I’ve started it and then try to start talking to me about Mick or Elly,”
“No, really, really, really don’t OK? I really want to see if this works. Please respect me. Please respect this. I really want to try this out properly,”
“I know,” says Polly.
“Ok. Please.” I say.
“Goodnight. Please. Respect. Please. Goodnight. Please don’t.”
I turn off the light. We kiss. I hold the iPod shuffle and press play. I am very excited.
Calming music which reminds me a bit of hed phone sex by Funki Porcini (which is the greatest of all Ninja Tunes – breaking my rules tonight by mentioning brands and records, but it really is great) except there is a nice man saying things like “now, releasing more and more into peace and dreams,” every few minutes instead of women screaming and grunting all the time.
After about 2 minutes I start laughing.
After about 4 minutes I get really paranoid that I like it and I am turning into some sort of “fixed” person. I have visions of halls full of people plugging into headphones and blissfully zoning out of real life, like an aural prozac.
After about 6 minutes I have stopped worrying about this.
After about 8 minutes I am worrying again. What if this helps me to feel a bit happier? Isn’t that bad? Surely the only thing that should make me happy ever is “my own resources?”
After about 10 minutes I realise I am still counting the minutes.
After that I start
falling into a deeper
Suddenly I am woken up by the nice man saying “Now, you’ve chosen to devote this time to sleep.”
See, the iPod shuffle, which I’ve been very careful to specify as the model I am using, has the unique function of always repeating so I am back to the beginning of the sleep programme and starting again.
I am surprised at how brilliantly relaxing the experience was, but frustrated that I couldn’t use it to sleep for the whole night because of this fatal flaw of the iPod shuffle. SHIT. I am now in overdrive, panicing, thinking through all the possible solutions:
1) order an iPod nano NOW
2) order some other sort of music player
3) use a mobile phone
4) burn the nap soundtrack onto a cd player
5) put it onto my normal iPod.
Number 5 is the obvious answer. I’ll do that. I’ll use my normal iPod to do that. I’ll plug it into my laptop. I’ll do that next time I want to go to sleep. I’ll do that right now. No I won’t, that’s stupid, I’ll go to sleep, hang on, if I’m going to sleep I need to listen to the thingy again. I’ll wake Polly, I DON’T CARE. I do care. Don’t get out of bed. GET UP NOW. YES YES YES- I’ll do it RIGHT NOW.
Silently, stealthily I get out of bed, unplug the laptop and sneak it to the door of the bedroom.
“What are you doing?” says Polly.
“Go back to sleep,” I say. “I’ll tell you tomorrow.”
Now I’m totally hyper. I go into the kitchen, jump on a chair, to access the plug on the kitchen iPod station. I turn on my desktop. I have my laptop on. I plug the iPod into the computer. It is out of battery. I am going to have to plug the iPod into the wall. This is all a disaster. The iPod won’t work. It has absolutely zero battery power. It can only work when it’s plugged in. What am I going to do? Run an extention lead? There must be an alternative…
Use the laptop. Of course. I set the system alerts to silent, tell the monitor to power down after 1 minute and generate a sleep programme. I enjoyed the whole thing so much last time I decide to go for a one hour programme this time. I go upstairs with a torch and the computer.
The computer is so bright that it instantly wakes Polly up.
“David, what are you doing?” she says. She is a bit irritated.
“It’s O.K. I’ll explain it in the morning. I’ve set it up so that the screen will switch off in one minute. Don’t worry. It won’t wake you up,” I say.
“For fuck’s sake David,” she says.
“Sorry Polly, but I really want to have a go of this,” I say.
“What’s the time David?” she says.
“It’s 11.47.” I say.
“It’s 11.47,” she says.
“I know, I know. Just go back to sleep.” I say.
“…” Polly makes a noise of disgust and pulls the covers over her head.
I think I have annoyed her.
I put the nap programme on, lie in bed and listen to the nice man saying nice things. I wait for the monitor to power down then I can relax.
After three minutes the monitor is still on. The room is still lit. Polly is still awake.
“What’s going on?” she says.
“It’s ok. Hang on,” I say. I find a setting that says “Disable sleep and screen savers during live naps” and untick this.
“OK, it’ll just be one more minute now,” I say.
Five minutes later I am leaning out of the bed, very uncomfortably, trying to download a monitor control system that’ll let me control the screen. To pick up the laptop and lay it on my lap to do all this would be tempting a real bollocking so I am leaning onto the floor from my bed to do all this, only there is a chest of drawers that I have to twist around. My back and my shoulder are hurting.
“Nearly there, just a minute,” I say.
I install the app. and find the option to switch off the monitor.
“Right Polly. Here we go. Goodnight.”
“For fuck’s sake,”
I stretch one last time, press play on my nap player and CTRL T to shut off the screen.
The lovely man is talking to me.
The screen goes black.
I lie back.
Polly breathes out.
Then suddenly the screen is strobing. Our bedroom looks like footage from an early Velvet Underground show.
“Oh, hang on, sorry, sorry,” I say.
Polly has stopped talking to me.
I try again.
More strobes. This is definitely not relaxing.
Then I hit on an idea. If I change the power settings to “When I close the lid of the computer DO NOTHING” then I can switch the screen off and listen in darkness.
“Polly, It’s OK. If I change the screen settings to…”
“SHUT UP AND GO TO SLEEP,” Polly says.
It is pitch black.
The man is talking to me.
Bells are ringing.
Theta waves are theta-ing.
Everything is working.
It’s going great.
Except instead of feeling sleepy, I’m now starting to feel a bit annoyed. I want to go to sleep now, I’m really tired, but the headphones are clamped to my head and I can’t drop off.
“now, releasing more and more into peace and dreams,”
For fuck’s sake.
“Now, sleeping more deeply, more peacefully,”
“Look after yourself and those you love in all ways.”
Shut up. SHUT UP. SHUT THE FUCK UP.
I throw my headphones to the floor in disgust
I hit the button on my clock. It is 12.49. I want to cry.
“Go to sleep David,” says Polly.
I go to sleep.