Monday, May 22, 2006

Sleep Deprivation Experiment #748 Complete

Well we successfully made it through this week’s sleep deprivation experiment. I managed to get through it without driving off the road, making any technical blunders, or getting short with anyone. (Although I did have one minor issue with my camera at 3 AM on Sunday morning…)

This time we added a twist to the experiment. I really didn’t have to work all that many hours this weekend. They just all happened to be at night. And I learned something.

I must be getting older. (Oh, there’s a shocker!)

It used to be my motto was “Anytime – Anywhere.”

Now obviously that motto wasn’t original with me. Google the two words and you get nearly 50 million hits. Some of them I’m sure you don’t want to click, if you know what I mean.

But when I was younger that pretty much summed up where I could sleep if I decided to. Sleep was never a challenge for me. My dad would probably tell you that I acquired that skill at an early age. I remember a little friction many of my teenaged mornings when he insisted I get up before I was awake.

My time in the Navy only reinforced that special ability. Spend 6 months with your bed about 10 feet directly underneath JBD number 4 and you’ll be able to sleep through a hurricane. (Check out How Aircraft Carriers Work if you want to know what a JBD is.) Heck, I even slept strapped in an ejection seat. More than once! (Makes you feel safe, doesn’t it, knowing folks on the pointy end of the spear might be asleep on the job!)

Of course I still remember the noise sequence of a typical launch.

First there is the relatively quite jet engine noise of the plane taxiing into place. Then there’s the whine of the hydraulic motors lifting the JBD behind the plane which ends in two dull thuds followed by four loud clicks of the locking pins being driven home. Next you have a rush of the seawater surging through the cooling pipes. Shortly after that the whole room will start to shake as the plane runs up to full power, but can’t yet go anywhere. Then after a few seconds, the shooter will fire the catapult and the engine noise rushes away forward. The sea water stops. The four pins click and unlock. The hydraulics whine as they lower the JBD. Finally there’s the two dull thuds as the JBD comes back to rest on the deck.

The whole process takes about 2 minutes and then starts again.

I remember all that from 1992!

But my point is that I never had any trouble sleeping through that insane racket. Yet this weekend, in a very quiet house, with the boys not bothering me at all (they were very good), I couldn’t sleep more than a couple hours during the day. And this even though I was totally exhausted!

Why does getting older have to mean having trouble sleeping? I’m not digging this aging process!!

Hope you have a great day and sleep well tonight.


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Anonymous said...

Chris - This is Dwayne in Jacksonville. My Dad use to tell me all the time, "Son, you got to slow down. You can't keep going wide-open all the time. It's going to catch up with you." I would just shake my head and reply, "Hey Dad, I'd rather burn-out than fade-out!" Well, that was twenty years ago. It's harder to get going now. Takes longer to recover; and when I do push it to the limit, it takes days to bounce back! But I'm still here and I'm still rolling. I can honestly say...that "fadin-out" ain't looking so bad!!!

Chris Cree said...

Dwayne, I emailed you over a month ago but got no answer. Do me a favor and click on the blue box with my email address at over on the right and send me a little something so I can get your address right.

Oh, and I want to fade ever so slowly...