2. Cause: Sleepwalking. You go out the front door and stand in the snow. Someone comes to get you and they learn to lock up at night. Treatment: Restraint.
4. Cause: Wide-eyes. In 13 years you will forget why it started happening– but remember all the same wresting energies. Although it is smarter than to be fooled by common remedies: hot baths, keeping the bed a sleeping place, Valerian, relaxation techniques– it can be treated with more innovative methods until it adapts. Discover by trial and grave, grave, error. Treatment: Hypothermia. Close the door and open all the windows in the middle of the winter. It is well below zero and somehow your little room is cold enough to pour drafts down two floors and across the house. Your father comes in to say, “What are you doing? There’s a three-foot snow drift on your bed,” and you later regret not opening your eyes to see the snow for yourself and always wonder about the texture of snow blown through a screen. In the summer sing in a loud whisper to yourself and enjoy the sound of your own, out-of-tune voice.
1. Cause: Heat. Your first summer in Massachusetts you stay in a brick box on the fifth floor with no window or fan. Every hour or so you wake up gasping for air and wonder if anyone’s ever reported suffocation by heat. Death isn’t scary enough yet so you can go back to sleep with ease just by looking at the chapel tower and finally being alone. Treatment: Company. Sleep on an extra-long twin bed with someone else instead. Preferably a bunk-bed so that there are three of you in close quarters. His roommates will get used to seeing you naked when he goes to class in the morning. Stay awake all night fucking and walking around and only go inside to check in for curfews. If you have to be alone, be sure to have sex all afternoon and then sleep in public next to other teenagers who are smoking all night on the bridge over Mass Ave.
4. Cause: (pre)Occupation. Night jobs. Treatment: Don’t sleep. The insomnia will treat itself and you will find yourself, always, miraculously tired. It will be the biggest relief of your life.
5. Cause: Worry. Fret yourself hard until you are cross-hatched with fraught. You know you’re doing it right when you can hear every movement of your gurgling stomach– or, at least, you will know that your stomach is gurglingly in motion. Treatment: Divide all your food into rations and write up lists detailing the exact amount of food you can filch from roommates. Figure out how many days you have to skip the subway in order to afford something besides rice and rice. Plan to steal vitamins in the meantime. Think about how sleeping is the mature solution to hunger and calculate how much you can save just by spending more time unconscious then solve all your problems by doing the responsible thing.
7. Cause: Disturbance. Life is elsewhere and your dreams are equally terrifying. Keep all your options open to safeguard against terrors. You’re having recurring dreams about inanimate objects that swell and threaten and then chase you. They’re things without legs or wheels and most of the dream is caught up with being afraid that they are about to come after you. You run through a maze and shoot the thing to bits until a whole field is covered in the parts. They wobble and explode into growth and come at you in droves. One night it’s the button-eye of a doll and the next, two glass blobs stacked up like 2/3 of a snowman. You tell your shrink but there’s only so much you can do about being obvious. “In the dream, where are you?” “Inside the castle walls, and I know that if I only get out– but I’ve also done the dream before so I know how it ends.” Treatment: Cultivate obscure information fetishes. Look up the lengths of books and fact-check rumors. Image-search film stars of the 1930s and lesbian pulp. Compile lengthy documents and plan very long jokes that rely on the convergence of a high number of unlikely factors. Fine-tune your punchlines so they’re ready when the chance arises.