Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sleep Walker

I am all about control - control of the environment around me and control of myself and my emotions. So it becomes very unnerving to me when I loose a sense of control but at times it can be a funny and yet fascinating phenomena to recount. In this particular case I'm talking about sleep walking. My earliest memories are of my sister when we were kids way back when. I was watching TV with my dad late at night - unbeknown to my mom of course - when my sister suddenly appeared in the flashing glow of the TV. My dad and I questioned my sister but she was completely in a daze, not just sleepy and walking but sleep walking. After a few minutes idling she promptly turned around and returned to bed. The next morning she remembered nothing. I laughed at her total lack of control and baulked at such a thing ever happening to me. Low and behold so many years later my version sleep walking would manifest itself from extreme stress and lack of sleep.

The 1st two cases were when I and my good friends Robert Scott and Sean Lavin flew off to South America to shoot a documentary. In short, our travels got stressful at times - some of the toughest challenges I had ever faced. Tough in that the problems were much bigger than me, and I was completely out of my comfort zone - out of my element. There was nothing I could do about the Bolivian strike, the impoverished peoples, the road blockades, the rioting - I had absolutely no ability to either fix it or get a way from it. So in our time stuck in this small town the three of us were sleeping in a cramped room when I had this dream of chasing Sean down the narrow corridor of the train we had road into Bolivia, the "Tren de Muerta." Bodies of people were strewn all over the ground as I desperately crawled over them to try and keep up with Sean. Finally I reached out and started to scream Sean's name. After the third or fourth call I realized I was calling out loud from bed, disturbing the peace of the room and subsequently waking Sean and Scotty. When they asked if I was OK, I simply laughed in embarrassment and fell back into my sleep. In hind sight the laugh might have sounded somewhat sadistic because I never responded to Sean's calls after I woke him. The next morning I was stupid enough to bring up the incident, reminding Sean and Scotty of something they would have otherwise never remembered.

The second incident was well after we made it into Peru, but by then I had faced a humiliating and horrific bout of dysentery. As usual we all occupied a small room but in my dream I was now outside the train trying to get in. As I approached the door to the train, the massive machine began to move so I paced with the moving door and yelled to my companions to open up. As the train moved faster I became more and more desperate so I knocked on the train door when I suddenly realized I was out of bed and knocking on the room door. Once again I laughed at myself and went back to bed. And once again I was stupid enough to mention it to my companeros who would have otherwise remembered nothing. But they were good sports about the whole incident - I was genuinely concerned that I was going out of my mind. But then that would be the last of my sleepwalking for awhile. So many years later I would walk again, only this time the incidents were much more involved and that much more peculiar.