Friday, February 15, 2008
The device pictured is a hand-cranked centrifuge from a Gilbert chemistry set that I had mounted on racks on the wall over my desk. One raises and lowers the handle at the top to cause the test-tube holders to spin, in the manner of a mechanical top. It is the star of today's anecdote.
From the time I was 8 or 9 years old until we moved into town where we could get cable (circa 1987), the only television in the house was the one in my room, a big old color model that was primarily used as a monitor for the Atari and Commodore 64, as our reception was lousy. If something of interst to others came on, they'd come into my room to watch.
One night, when my cousin Susie was visiting us, there was something coming on that she and my parents wanted to watch but I didn't (possibly Saturday Night Live), so I bade them good night, crawled into bed and headed off to Slumberland as they watched their show nearby.
The next morning, when I got up and headed out into the living room to get breakfast, I found everyone staring quizzically at me as I entered, and Susie was having trouble maintaining a straight face. After a moment, they explained.
I had been asleep for something less than an hour when, without warning, my eyes snapped open and I sat up straight, announcing "I have just the thing! I have just the thing!" I then hopped out of bed, ran across the room to my desk, and snatched up the centrifuge. I pumped the handle several times, watching it spin, and, to the startled onlookers, announced "I'm not a weirdo...everyone's doing it!" Then, I quietly went back to bed and went to sleep. I can't recall if I took the centrifuge with me.
While I've done plenty of talking in my sleep this is the only incident of somnambulism on my resume that I'm aware of.