I am a 40-something guy in Northern Maine biding my time until the mothership picks me up and takes me back to my home planet, where there is no reality TV, the temperature never drops below 65 degrees, and stupid people are summarily wrapped in bacon and dropped into a pit of hungry chihuahuas.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
A Drinking Problem
I drink a lot. Of
water, that is. I always have. I’m just a water-drinking kind of guy. Oh sure, I’ll have some coffee in the
morning, and an occasional soda or alcoholic beverage when watching sports, but
water is the mainstay of the liquid side of my diet. I keep a bottle in the car, have one going at
work, and usually have a glass nearby at home.
As habits go, it is probably one of the better ones I could have. Beats the heck out of sticking silverware
into electrical outlets, which is a habit no one sticks with for long.
Water drinking is not a habit without its downsides however. Off the top of my head, I can think of two
negative side effects, one minor and one not so much.
The minor one is when I go out to eat at a restaurant. I always order ice water with my meal, since
that’s just what I like. It’s what I
drink with meals at home, so why wouldn't I have it when I am out? The thing
is, I can’t help but feel like the server, deep-down, must think I am just
another cheap bastard not ordering something for which I would have to
pay. I’m sure that if I had a few beers
in me, I’d probably get up the courage to address this perceived issue with my server,
maybe going to far as to encourage them to stop by my home any evening at
mealtime to see that I really do indeed have ice water with all my meals. Of course, if I had a few beers in me, the
whole point would be moot. So I just leave a generous tip, more for the sake of
my own conscience than anything else.
The more problematic side effect of drinking a lot of water
involves making trips to the bathroom.
The human body can only make use of so much water after all, and what it
does not need has to come out at a certain point. Biology 101, right
there. Fortunately, I am rarely in a
situation where I am not able to make a quick trip to the restroom. There are, however, times when I really don’t
want to, like in the middle of
attending a live event or while trying to sleep. It’s that latter issue that really causes me
As I get older, I find that nocturnal sojourns to the loo
are a more frequent occurrence. On a
good night, I don’t need to go at all or maybe only need to go once, but
sometimes it can be more. It wouldn't be
so bad if I was a sound sleeper, but alas, I am not. It always takes me a long time to fall
asleep, and I do not sleep very deeply when I do. If I get up to go to the john, it wakes me
just enough so that it can take upwards of an hour for me to get back to
dreamland. If I've stubbed a toe, tripped over a cat or two, or run into a
door, all of which are not infrequent happenings, it can be even longer.
Getting back to sleep is usually a real challenge for
me. During those late night hours, my
mind functions with all the calm reason of a teenage girl in the front row of a
Justin Bieber concert. It turns every
little problem into a big one, and regrets from the past, particularly the ridiculous
and trivial ones, are dredged up and amplified.
One night not long ago, for example, I tossed and turned and fretted for
what must have been over an hour after a bathroom trip because I felt bad about
taking a regular college English course my senior year in high school instead
of the accelerated course my teacher desperately wanted me to take. Did I mention that I graduated from high
school a quarter-century ago? And that I
got into the college of my choice and the program of my choice with no
problems, despite only taking regular college English? In the dark of the night, not taking the
accelerated course seemed like such a deep regret of which I should be
eternally ashamed. Come morning, it
seemed like a monumentally stupid thing to waste my energy thinking about.
In the 80s, the Australian pop band Men at Work even wrote a
hit song about this middle-of-the-night phenomenon of exaggerated
thinking. The song is called “Overkill”,
and here are some of the lyrics, as written by lead singer Colin James Hay:
can't get to sleep.
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications.
Especially at night
I worry over situations that
I know will be alright.
It's just overkill.
there’s a little bit of comfort in knowing that it’s not just me who suffers
mild temporary insanity in the middle of the night.
If dawn is
approaching soon and my bladder is urging me to take a trip down the hall, I
have been known to try to “ride it out” until I have to get up anyway,
especially if things are not too urgent.
This rarely works. First of all,
I can rarely get comfortable when I have to go, so I toss and turn and generally
destroy the bed. Then, if I do manage to
achieve some semblance of sleep, I almost always have the most outrageously
stressful dreams, often involving being chased by something horrible and nasty,
or being extremely late for something extremely important, like my presidential
inauguration or something. I have no
doubt that these dreams are triggered in my subconscious by my body’s need to
take care of business, and waking up after them is like returning home from a
particularly violent war. And of course,
as official wake up time draws close, a cat or two always manages to make its
way into the room in hopes of rousting me for their breakfast, and will
invariably sit, if not pounce, directly on my bladder.
know. I’m not sure how, but they do. This is no accident on their part.
solution-oriented person, but I don’t think there is a solution for this. Stop drinking water after dinnertime? Been there, done that, didn't work. Talk to my doctor? Did that too. Not enough of a problem to require medical
intervention, I’m told. And don’t even
suggest wearing a diaper or some sort of contraption. NOT an option! Not even maybe.
I guess I
should be grateful that I am a light enough sleeper that I am awakened to deal
with these requests from my bladder, otherwise I’d be doing a lot more laundry
and probably not writing about this particular issue publicly.
would probably generate a ton of blog hits though...