Bear with me while I explain something about myself. It's relevant to the story I intend to tell, I promise.
It takes a lot to get me out of bed. Upon waking, I require at least 20 minutes to fully gain alertness and become aware of my surroundings. In this way I am not unlike a drunk, passed out sorority girl. The world might be ending around me and I'd barely take notice. Nothing warrants a coherent response from me unless an Americano is administered intravenously.
Let's say Emma Stone were to call me bright and early in the morning with urgent news (hey, it could happen).
Her proposal would barely register with me.
Most likely I would mumble a made-up excuse about my body being covered in tumors or having just been hit by a car, then hang up and drift off back to sleep in my warm and cozy cocoon of blankets.
Sleep is like a drug to me, and no alien-eyed Hollywood starlet is going to steal it from me. If I could figure out a way to eat and sleep at the same time, I'd be in heaven. Unfortunately I can't weasel a prescription for Ambien out of my doctor, so I'm forced to separate my vices.
If I'm being honest, I'm probably a little too fond of sleeping. Truth be told, I generally don't organize my time in the best manner. This pie chart aptly illustrates how I might spend a typical Tuesday:
Of course, as with any drug, my glorious sleep sessions come with a price. For instance, I've been known to talk in my sleep. Just last week a friend notified me that during a nap I'd told her, "If I died in Iraq and they flew my body home, I wouldn't want my casket draped in the American flag. I'd want them to cover it in a quilt made by a pioneer woman." While this habit is more peculiar than alarming, I live in constant fear that I'll divulge some deep dark secret while I slumber.
Aside from my unconscious chattering, my main concern is that all too frequently my dreams trickle into my waking moments. This can be unsettling because as I mentioned, I have a difficult time making sense of the world in the moments after waking up. Once I was dreaming about spiders, and upon waking could've sworn I saw a giant spider dangling above my bed.
It didn't register that the spider had been a remnant of a dream until several minutes later, and by that time I was huddled in the corner, wide eyed and terrified.
The zenith of my disoriented sleep episodes occured a few years ago while I was home from college one summer. The morning was creeping towards noon and I was still fast asleep in bed when a loud hissing sound from outside my window startled me awake. Groggy and confused, I rolled over and gazed out my window. Terror instantly grabbed hold. Something massive and yellow was heading for my house, appearing to collide at any moment. Since I have terrible eyesight without my contacts, I couldn't make out the details of the object, but I could tell that whatever it was, it was almost as large as my house itself and it was making an awful racket.
The sudden appearance of the monstrosity triggered an immediate fight-or-flight response in me. I hurled myself out of bed.
I clamored down the stairs and crouched on the landing near the living room, waiting for the inevitable sound of my bedroom being destroyed by whatever the thing was, but catastrophe never struck. By this time I was conscious enough to realize that I hadn't been dreaming, and in fact I could still hear the thing hissing as it slowly passed over my house. I wracked my brain for what it could be, but nothing I could think of was that noisy and that yellow. Was it alive? Would it eat me? Without a realistic option to fall back on, I was forced to assume it was a monster. A yellow monster. A giant... yellow... monster.
Once I accepted the impossibility of my house being under attack by a giant Pikachu, I felt marginally better, though still adequately horrified. At least now I could figure out how to approach the situation. Of course, the notion of being stalked by a huge, bloodthirsty Pokémon wasn't a comforting thought.
As I cowered at the foot of my stairs anticipating my approaching death, I could hear the thing passing over and drifting away from my house. But before I could feel relief, a new hissing sound emerged from the direction the yellow beast had come from. Multiple hissing sounds, in fact. Were there more of them? Would they eat me right there on the spot? Or would they take me back to their death caves and feast upon me there?
Gathering whatever courage I could muster, I crept to the living room window and peered out sheepishly, certain my life was winding down to its final moments.
Though my vision was still blurry, I managed to ascertain the scene more clearly. There were more of the things all right, but they were different. Some were red, some blue, some green. Squinting, I could finally make out what they actually were.
Hot air balloons. Dozens of them.
Later I would learn that every year my hometown holds a Hot Air Balloon Rally for charity, and somehow I'd had no knowledge of it. They were flying so close to my house because they were getting ready to land in a field nearby, and the hissing sound had been produced by the burners.
Now, you might be thinking, "Sure, Adam, it was certainly alarming waking up to that, but Pikachu? Really? That's what your mind came up with?"
Yes, that's what my mind came up with. When something that huge and yellow appears to be destroying your home, you go to dark places. Don't judge. You don't know. You weren't there.
Shaken but relieved that danger had passed, I popped in my contacts and traipsed out to the front yard to watch the balloons pass overhead.
They were actually quite pretty. You know, since they weren't trying to kill me.