Have you ever had one of those nights where you're convinced you didn't sleep a wink and the only way you know you actually did is because you dreamed? And not even about anything cool like finding a door that leads to a roller coaster in the back of your closet but about something prosaic like trying to find a parking spot?
That's the kind of night I had recently at an exceedingly hip hotel in Portland which, decor wise, was somewhere between dorm room, white collar prison and depressing flop house that men who are going through a divorce in the '50s move into. It had a mattress a few inches off the floor, a sink a few inches from the bed, high ceilings, a molded plastic chair, paper thin walls and a record player, since lord knows only a maniac would dream of traveling without their vinyl collection.
It also had small batch artisanal everything including soda made with real cane sugar in the minibar which really bummed me out because I would have killed for a Diet Coke.
Anyway, for whatever reason -- and I'm not saying it was the five cups of coffee I drank to get my energy up before performing with Adam Carolla at the Aladdin Theater earlier that evening and I'm also not not saying that -- I tossed and turned all night, woke up in the worst mood ever and began to despair over how I was going to possibly drag myself through the next few days.
If you are in that phase of life where sleep comes easy but is somewhat optional, take advantage of it. Stay awake from 19 to 23 because no one tells you that one day you won't feel like yourself for at least a year, possibly two, because you made the mistake of taking a red eye.
I used to pull all-nighters by choice. It was my preferred method for meeting deadlines. And then I'd sleep for a couple hours, wake up refreshed and go about my day. I was so springy in my youth. Now I'm brittle and cranky and it takes me longer and longer to wake up and longer and longer to go to sleep. Eventually I'll just wake up and begin getting ready for bed.
So back to Portland, where I picked myself up off the floor, took a lukewarm shower in a claw foot bathtub (a word about claw foot tubs: I realize they're kitschy and cool but I'm never excited to use one and conversely I've never seen a big modern shower and found myself disappointed at the ease with which I would be bathing), washed my hair with what I'm pretty sure was body wash and then made my way down to the breakfast room.
I was hoping to grab some coffee to go but they didn't have to-go cups. As I was processing this news, I ran into Adam, or at least I think it was him. On a good day it now takes a while for my eyes to adjust but this wasn't a good day. I faced the familiar human shaped blur in front of me and tried to focus. I felt as if I'd been packed in rock salt and left to brine overnight. My eyelids were so puffy I may as well have been looking at the world through two bagels. Then I tried to speak but my voice sounded like the sound that comes out of one of those big coffee thermoses when it's empty and you tip it forward and pump desperately.
"Did you sleep? I didn't sleep," I bleated.
There would have been a time when I wished to come across a little more easygoing and delightful but now I was just angry that the hotel didn't provide box springs.
I surveyed the food shaped blobs in front of me. Adam warned me that what he mistook for "pancake shards" were actually smoked fish. I felt better knowing I wasn't the only one whose senses waited a solid few hours to kick in.
After eating everything that wasn't nailed down -- which is the only way to survive a sleepless night -- drinking too much coffee and taking a two hour nap which really meant an hour and 50 minutes of playing Candy Crush plus setting my alarm for ten minutes and then getting under the covers and closing my eyes, I began to feel more like myself.
And, sadly, by that I mean old.