SPEEDTEST!

It was 4am along Linden Avenue in north Boulder, Colorado on some day in some month of 2015. Not much stirred inside or out on this quiet predawn weekday. A deer poops perfect pebbles and turns an ear to listen to nothing. All six residents of 955 sleep soundly and peacefully. In the northwest corner, a man begins to dream...

I am in a foreign room. A room of science filled with various instruments and measuring tools. The room is grey and dome-shaped. I am laying down, but not on an operating table. It's my bed. Indistinct beings surround me, but I can only sense them. I cannot see them and I am not frightened of them. We come to the understanding that I have been selected to be cloned. Their purpose is unknown, but before they can proceed they must take measurements. Duh, I saw the instruments. Since I'm on the level, they put words into my head:

"We need to know how fast you are."

So I immediately leap off the table and -

At this point the narrative shifts to the interior of the house as the dream world and real world collide.

So I immediately leap out of my bed and sprint out of the room. When I say sprint, I mean running as fast as I possibly can. At 4am in a house of five sleeping people. In a dilapidated house with squeaky stairs and creaky hardwood floors. With no effort made to suppress my heavy feet, I tear down the hallway and stairs with all the grace of a semi-truck driving off a bridge. I ran as if my life depended on it. After all, they did need to know how fast I was, and I didn't want to disappoint them.

After reaching the floor, I turned the corner, passed the sticker-covered fridge, ripped the door to the garage off its hinges and continued to run full-speed. But when my feet touched the cold cement floor, the sensation must have stirred something useful in my brain because I immediately woke up and stopped running. Having done things like this a number of times before, I knew what had happened and returned to bed at a walking pace with a smile on my face. The entire ordeal lasted maybe 10 seconds, mostly spent walking back up the stairs. When I reached the hallway, Kiesha flung open her door and stood there wide-eyed in anticipation. Wearing only boxer briefs, I sleepily patted her on the shoulder and said only "Sometimes, my dreams a little too real" and proceeded to my room, closing the door behind me with no further explanation.

This incident has since come to be known as SPEEDTEST! yelled in your loudest voice. The expectation is to then immediately drop whatever you're doing and race.

Mike Burbiglia - a comedian who suffers from dangerous sleepwalking - says, "I was diagnosed with REM behavior disorder, where people have a dopamine deficiency. Dopamine is the chemical that is released from your brain into your body when you fall asleep that paralyzes your body so you don't act out your dreams." It's worth noting that I found nothing else linking sleepwalking to a dopamine deficiency, so that may just be REM behavior disorder.

The astute reader may be wondering what this has to do with traveling in Southeast Asia. Nothing, but one thing I want to focus more on here - which so far I've failed at - is writing more. And after listening to a couple excerpts of Mike Birbiglia's Sleepwalk with Me, a comedian's tale of dangerous sleepwalking incidents, I decided to write up my most recent sleepwalking episode. Thanks Marcy Currier from Omega for the links!

NPR interview

This American Life: Fear of Sleep