Saturday, January 12, 2019

Blindfolding my eyes from what I don't want to see

I swear it was just a coincidence that the night after I watched Bird Box, I went to sleep blindfolded for the first time.

You'd suspect some kind of causal link, but really, I was just tired of waking up too early in the damn morning.

Even on nights I have not been tossing and turning for most of the night, I've still been waking up at almost exactly 6:13 a.m. almost every day. That's an hour earlier than I need to get up even on workdays. And it's not like I'm going to bed too early. Rare is the night I am in bed before midnight.

Of course, there's a reason for that time and its exactness. The sun rises right around then. (At 6:11 a.m. this morning, according to the internet.) My body should need more than six hours of sleep, but that damn morning sun prevents it.

Oh yeah, we close the slats on our blinds in our room. But that still allows for enough spillage to rouse me. And then once I'm awoken, I feel the pressing in my bladder that needs to be relieved.

My strategy has been not to go to the bathroom, because my theory is that this will awaken me further and then I'll truly be awake. But going back to sleep with a full bladder is difficult. You can do it, but the biggest problem is that you start thinking about the fact that you're thinking about it, and that itself prevents you from sleeping.

Sometimes I move out to the couch, in the hopes I can grab a few more z's before I really need to get up. Usually, this just wakes up one of my children. They'll either join me on the couch for a few more minutes of vain sleep attempts, or I'll just give up the whole business and start the day.

As this is really affecting my overall energy level and prompting sometimes multiple naps in a given day, I decided to do something about it. I decided to go to sleep wearing a face mask, as my wife already does as part of her normal routine. And finding one wouldn't be difficult, as they hand out face masks on every Qantas flight. I'd thrown the cloth sack containing the face mask, a tooth brush, a minuscule tube of toothpaste and some ear plugs on the shelf after my last trip in October/November, and knew exactly where it was.

Quite by coincidence, I also watched Bird Box on Friday night.

Contrary to the general critical consensus, I liked Bird Box a fair bit. I'm one of those who had read the book, so I was judging it more as a faithful adaptation of the book than as its own entity, though a deviation from the book also could have been interesting. It's a pretty faithful adaptation, and I enjoyed the book, so I enjoyed the movie as well.

I figured I'd always write about Bird Box on here, because after reading it, it was both a movie I immediately wanted to see and one I didn't think was possible to make. The book is told from the perspective of its main character, Mallory, played here by Sandra Bullock. We don't know anything that doesn't occur directly to Mallory. The movie more or less sticks to that, with a few small exceptions.

Because for at least the majority of the book (I won't say whether it's all or not, in the interest of not spoiling), Mallory does not see the creatures driving her fellow humans to suicide, neither do we. There is no description of what they are because no one who sees them lives long enough to describe them. (I'm wondering right now what happens to the people who see them but don't have a means of killing themselves at their disposal. Maybe those are the unblindfolded crazies we see, though the film does not specifically state that.)

So it's a monster book without monsters. That works fine in a book. Not so well in a movie.

In fact, if I had liked this movie less, I probably would have said it suffers from many of the same problems as M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening. In fact, if I were Shyamalan, I might get a little mad at Josh Malerman for having written a book that appears to owe so much to my movie. Because that movie was a huge flop, I imagine it's not something anyone is getting too worked up about.

In The Happening, a mysterious event occurs that causes people to start killing themselves. Ultimately, it's revealed that the wind or the trees or something are causing them to go insane. That movie fails not only because of some really bad direction in a couple of the key acting scenes, but because Shyamalan tries to make blowing trees into an ominous force. Not anthropomorphized trees, as in Poltergeist, but just regular trees blowing and swaying in the wind.

Bird Box is a bit like that. I won't say if you ever see the creatures or not because I don't want this to be a spoilery post, but it's probably not spoiling anything to say that the creatures are only hinted at, at least initially. Their presence is sometimes marked by floating leaves, which is, in theory, unscary in a similar way to blowing trees.

For some reason, what Susanne Bier pulls off works, while what Shyamalan attempted didn't. I won't try to analyze why. That's not the point of this post. And in fact, maybe one of the reasons I liked Bird Box as much as I did is that Bier does indeed succeeded at filming a novel I thought might have been unfilmmable. Bravo, Susanne.

The point of this post? Oh yeah, I wore a blindfold to bed after Bird Box.

It's a good story that the movie shook me so much that I felt I needed to keep the creatures out, even while I slept. Really, I just wanted to get a good night's sleep.

And you know what? I think it worked.

Oddly, it did not prevent me from waking up again at 6:13. I did that, like clockwork. What the blindfold did allow was for me to fall back to sleep, for almost an hour. In fact, I sunk back down into a vivid dream, one that didn't have anything to do with invisible monsters. (In fact, it had to do with being seduced by two different women at a party, simultaneously. Shhhh, don't tell my wife.)

The pressure of the sleep mask on my face was a bit funny, and I don't think I'm really used to it. This one-size-fits-all mask was clearly meant for a size smaller than mine. But I can't argue with the results. One extra hour of sleep, and getting back to that sleep with a bladder that needed to be emptied.

Of course, it could also have just been the normal vicissitudes of a night of sleep, where sometimes you sit bolt upright and sometimes you sleep straight through, where sometimes the sun wakes you and sometimes you need your alarm to get you up.

I guess I'll know tonight.

Because if I don't start sleeping better, I may really want to kill myself!

(Don't worry, that's a joke, just a funny way to end the post. Or maybe not funny, but that's up to you to decide.)

No comments: