I did consider not blogging tonight due to tiredness but I feared that my dwindling UK readership may dwindle further and my precarious US and Irish readership could slip away completely.
One reason for my tiredness is that I had a restless night. Thoughts about an upcoming interview were preventing me from falling back to sleep after I woke in the early hours. I resisted playing the “are you awake” game for at least half an hour but gave in through feeling too alone with my thoughts. Boredom is the usual trigger. I’m sure most people are familiar with the game but just in case anyone isn’t, here is a brief synopsis. The basic game consists of two parts.
The first part involves trying to determine whether the other person/people in the bedroom are asleep or awake and the second, optional but potentially more fulfilling, part is proving that they are awake. As the title suggests, the game begins with the most wide awake player asking ‘are you awake?’ If this produces no response the question is asked again and can be accompanied by a small nudge. This part can be repeated indefinitely until the wide awake player feels satisfied that they have worked out the status of the other player/s (asleep or awake) or they lose interest in playing. The game can be ended at this point, however a longer version is often more satisfying.
It may appear that the other person is asleep but they could be faking it or the mmm noise they make suggests they are awake but they could be asleep. This is another reason for continuing to the second part. Half-awake/half asleep is not a ‘win’ for the wide awake player. In order to win the second part of the game the wide awake player must illicit a brief conversation with the other player/s. There is a huge variety of tactics that can be brought into play. Changes in voice volume and tone; small kicks, big nudges, pulling of duvet and coughing are all possibilities. Perseverance is essential. Giving up leaves wide awake person feeling cheated and this can lead to them being convinced that the ‘sleeping’ player is in fact awake and feelings of resentment build up. This is very unfortunate for the sleeping player if they are actually asleep because they will have no idea why they are being ignored the next morning.
The game ends when the ‘is he, isn’t he asleep person’ says something along the lines of “Yes I’m awake” or “What do you want?”. Regardless as to whether this is said in a pleasant way or an annoyed way, the wide awake player has proved that the other player is awake and therefore wins the game. It is protocol for the wide awake player to respond to all questions regarding motives with “Oh I thought you were awake”. Players can then both stay awake and have a conversation. Alternatively the contentment of knowing you aren’t the only person awake is often enough to send you off to asleep and if you’re lucky the other person won’t start the game again.
“Are you asleep yet?” is a similar game and was a regular feature of my childhood. In this game players take turns to ask the question at intervals of 2 to 5 minutes. My sister was champion at falling asleep first and I was often left asking the question and being greeted by silence. When my children were young they too were champions but this time it was because I let them win so I could sneak out of bed and leave them sleeping happily.
Last night it took several minutes for Frodo to confirm he was awake and then he promptly fell back asleep. The chance of him offering any constructive comments on my interview preparations was virtually nil so I didn’t initiate another round of ‘Are you awake?’
For those readers who are camping this week take advantage of any extra room mates to play the games with. “Can you hear that?” is another game that is ideally suited to filling in wakeful hours in a tent. Sweet dreams.