Want to hear something that’s going to make some people absolutely hate me? I have full control over my sleep. I can stay up as late as I want (within reason), wake up as early as I want (though it might take one or two snooze buttons for me to roll out of bed), and—and this is the one that’s going to annoy people—go to sleep within ten minutes of closing my eyes in bed. The other night I went to bed an hour early because I wanted to wake up an hour earlier, and I was out like a light, even though I’d had two glasses of iced tea with dinner. Also, I can sleep through anything, which helps because my roommate comes home late from school and has dinner, and there’s only a curtain separating the kitchen from my pillows.
This didn’t used to be this way. I used to toss and turn for hours and rise from bed like a rotting zombie, but I changed somehow, I don’t know how, and I do not, for one minute, take this skill for granted.
So I was thinking about something I heard on the radio the other day. Someone said, “It doesn’t matter what you want to do—you can have sex with two people, you can tie each other up, you can pee on each other, you can stick it wherever it will go, it’s a-ok as long as you have consent.”
And I thought, “Yes! That! Exactly! What you do naked should not be a crime, as long as there are no victims! There’s no wrong here, just what makes people happy. All you have to do is consent!” I could take a transcript of what that man said to all of my socially liberal friends, and they would all agree, 100 percent.
The man who said it was Rush Limbaugh, and when he said that, his voice was so full of revulsion and contempt that it was practically a physical thing. He wasn’t affirming the concept of consent, he was condemning it.
People ask me why I have zero hope for the two sides coming together to heal this rift in our nation, and this is the perfect reason. We are literally speaking the same language, but we’re not speaking the same language at all. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe there’s a solution, but I’m not seeing it at all.
For a little over a year, I’ve been lamenting the loss of my humor. One of the side effects of finding the calm and emotional stability that I needed to function in the everyday world seemed to be that I ceased to be funny. I used to make people laugh, it was one of my sources of pride. I was sorry to see it go, but I had come to accept that this was who I was now. It was one of these Doctor Who-style regenerations I’m always going off about during my birthday. People would hear tales of me telling a joke, and the person they’d be hearing about would be as foreign to them as the hard-drinking Jeremiah is to anybody who met me after 2007.
And then an interesting thing started happening. People started laughing again. It started as I was living in my parents’ place, when I’d made jokes and they went over well with Mom and Dad, but also with the long-distance friendships I was rekindling, and later, with the new roommate/long-lost friend I’d found. It really hit home when I made a comment about the menu in the pizza place that got my roommate’s friend guffawing so loudly I thought we were going to get kicked out, that maybe my humor hadn’t died, it was just resting.
Over the past two months and a week I’ve been learning to live a brand new life, but maybe it’s also giving me a chance to welcome an old one back too.