Saturday, April 22

Dead Arms Since '95

Ever since the summer of ’95, I’ve been in the habit of sleeping on my front with my arms under my pillow. The consequence of this has been many a night where my arms go completely dead, and these days my elbows are prone to clicking.

The whole dead arms thing came about because around that time I started suffering black outs, usually in bed. The room would spin, I’d black out and be left with this ridiculous feeling of nausea for the rest of the day, and in one case, a fortnight.

The black outs are under control now thankfully, but I never sleep on my back, and the arms remain tucked under the pillow. It’s as if I’m holding on for dear life.

There have been too many nights now where I’ve woken up unable to move, all feeling from my shoulders down to my hands lost.

I’m currently staying at my mate’s in South East London and concerned by the latest dead arm incident, I set up my voice active settings on the mobile and decided I would leave it switched on during the nights from now on. Boy am I glad I did.

The time on my radio alarm clock said 4.32am. I couldn’t feel my arms. There was no way I could make even the slightest movement. I turned my head to the side, and facing my mobile, said “Matt – mobile.”

The call wasn’t accepted. My host obviously had his mobile off. Time for plan b.

“Matt – landline.”

I heard the landline ringing. Moments later, I heard Matt struggling out of bed. He took the call but I couldn’t answer it. I heard him hanging up in the next room and I knew he’d be doing a 1471.

Moments later, he rushed into my room and switched the light on.
“Disappointed, what’s up?”

He stopped. I’d never told him I slept in the buff.

“Jesus, fuck. Oh man. That’s disgusting.”
”Help me Matt. I – I can’t feel my arms.”
“What?”
“My arms are dead.”
“Can’t you put some boxers on?”
”How? With my feet? Come on, help me get my arms out from under the pillow.”

Things were understandably awkward in the kitchen at breakfast time. Not for me. I don’t mind being naked, but I could tell it was a problem for Matt. And given that I am staying at his place, it’s a problem for me.

Matt wasn’t getting very far with his bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes.

“Look Dis…” he started. “I need…I need some sort of guarantee this isn’t going to happen again.”

I tried to explain I couldn’t sleep with anything on.

”You’re just going to have to try mate,” he said.
He couldn’t eat any more and pushed his bowl of cereal to one side. “I mean, you just looked so fucking gay when I found you.”
I tried to reassure him. ”I’m not gay.”
“I know. I’m just saying you looked really gay.”
”Hey, you’re the one who’s never had a girlfriend,” I said.
There was a long pause.
”What are you saying?”
“Let’s not argue Matt.”
“I’m not gay.”
”Okay.”
”I can show you my internet history if you want.”
“That won’t be necessary.”
“What I need from you,” he said rising from the table, “is an assurance that whilst you’re here, under my roof, you’ll respect my wishes and not sleep naked.”
“Okay.”
“What’s with sticking your arms under your pillow anyway?”
“That pillow you gave me is so flat. I feel dizzy if I don’t have my arms under there.”
”I’ll give you another one.”
“I can’t sleep with two. Hurts my neck.”
“Well look, just know from now on I’m disconnecting the landline overnight, so you better work something out with your arms.”

He made to leave the kitchen, only to stop in the doorway and turn around.

“You’re sure you don’t want to see my internet history?”
“I’m sure.”

© Disappointed of West Egg 2006. Do not reproduce without permission.

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