Monday, January 20, 2003

Sleeping through nuclear explosions

Colby Cosh has an interesting entry on how his bed entices him into oversleeping:

As a result of the peripatetic sleeping, my bed has become an instinctive locus of only very deep sleep. My mother didn't help matters by buying me new sheets for Christmas that are made from some insanely soft damn material--I think it's the down from goose fetuses whose parents were fed on silkworms, or something. Basically when I crawl into that bed, there's no leaving for a good long time. I have to have my schedule cleared out for the next 48 hours if I even think of lying down there. There could be smoke alarms going off, a cop outside the door counting down from ten into a bullhorn--it wouldn't matter.

I have a story too. When I was a boy I slept very soundly in a queen sized bed, so soundly that I could sleep through everything.

In 1980, Mount St. Helens in Washington state became an active volcano again. It erupted spectacularly, spewing ash that rained throughout the Western U.S. (I have a pill bottle of the ash that my family saved when we went down to look at the moonscape that the volcano created.) I also need to mention that in my family's living room, we had giant stereo speakers, 3 feet high by 3 feet wide.

On the morning of the biggest Mount St. Helens eruption I was sleeping in my bed when, due to the unusual atmospheric conditions, a sound wave from the volcanic eruption, "KABOOM!", hit the house. My parents sat bolt upright, convinced that my younger brother had knocked a speaker over or climbed up on top of one of the speakers and done a head-first face plant through the floor of our house. (Think of being just under a low-flying jet as it breaks the sound barrier.)

I learned about all this second hand. I slept right through it all.

(I still find, sleeping in my twin bed, that I need a sound 8 hours a night pretty consistently. I'm told that I can snore as loudly as a local sawmill.)

I wonder if Colby has ever slept through a volcanic eruption in his super-comfy bed. Yet, I will take his word that he can sleep very soundly.

(I'm also wondering how much he sleeps when he is in his bed. 10-12 hours at a stretch? Does he wake up wanting to sleep more?)