My pillow was directly under the window, and the window was covered in frost. Winter had come to Seoul, ugly and mean, bitter as my father when he bought underwear at Kmart and it went on sale two days later. The new day would arrive as though it had divorced the previous night but won its temperature in the settlement. The mornings were sunny but freezing, like an arctic wolf dressed in, um, a non-arctic wolf’s clothing (?). That reminds me, I wonder if the zoo back home in Rochester is going to get any new arctic wolves – the two they had passed away recently. I always enjoyed the arctic wolf. Wait a second…what am I supposed to be talking about? Let me regain composure and get straight to the point:
It was cold.
And I was waking up sick every day. Not deathly ill, but kind of run down and weak. This didn’t make sense to me…I’m a healthy person. I eat rice and drink a lot of coffee. What was going on here? Why couldn’t I stay healthy? It was as though I had the immune system of a bubble boy. Speaking of which, a bubble arctic wolf would be really sad. I can picture it, the poor wolf with the bad immune system walking around in a bubble like when people put their pet hamster in that plastic ball thing.
Again, I digress. It dawned on me that I was waking up under the weather, and I was also waking up under the freezing window. There had to be a connection. Putting my detective skills to the test, I determined that it’s actually much colder in my apartment by the window than it is away from it. It was settled then – I would have to sleep backwards on the bed, with my feet by the headboard. True, I could have turned the bed around the other way (and thus been able to keep my head by the headboard), but that seemed like a lot of effort. I chose to be lazy and sleep backwards.
The first few days were a bit jarring. I started thinking of other things I could try facing the other way. For instance, what if one day I surprised the students by having all of the desks turned to face the other end of the classroom? That would really freak them out! Or if I went to a pub and sat on the bar stool facing out, away from the bar itself and towards the tables. People would probably think that was weird and creepy; they’d wonder what I was looking at. ”Don’t drink and stare,” they’d say. Lastly, I wondered why people always sit on the toilet facing the same direction. Why not do it backwards? I mean, you could spread work out on the back of the toilet like it’s a little desk, or use it as a table and have lunch. Imagine how day-to-day productivity would increase. Maybe I could go in there with my laptop and write a novel.
“Say, I heard you wrote a novel. You must’ve been really determined.”
“Not really…I just started shitting backwards.”
With my switch to the backwards sleep, I didn’t wake up sick anymore. I felt good in the
morning. That said, I began having a new problem. I noticed that my face was right by the power outlet. This frightened me. Was sleeping next to the power outlet safe? I feared that electricity might be leaking out of it and getting into my head. Think about it – your brain functions because of neurons and electrical impulses. The power socket could be sending electricity into my brain and screwing with the neurons. My brain might start pumping out too much dopamine, or maybe I would lose my sense of smell. I might go insane because I started sleeping with my head too close to the power socket; maybe I would start hearing voices, and I don’t mean like how I hear Barry Gibb when I get the Bee Gees stuck in my head.
Maybe Barry Gibb would start talking to me. I imagined myself walking down the street, screaming like a crazy person: “I don’t know how deep my love is, Barry! You don’t really need to learn! Leave me alone!”
Thankfully, I have the Internet, and I was able to learn that it is indeed safe to sleep with your head by the power socket. Silly me – I was being paranoid. Since learning this, I have woken up with a new energy for life; I’m feeling healthy and I don’t have to worry about electrical poisoning. I may be sleeping backwards, but everything is the same as it always was, as if life is one big palindrome.