My aunt Nancy is one of my favorite people in the world. We just “get” each other. She knows I like my eggs deep fried, over well (with just a hint of cilantro) and I know she needs a shot of Whiskey when her ex-husband drops by for a visit. Nancy is the youngest of my mother’s nine siblings, and has always been considered the black sheep –a title she proudly bears. You see, despite her demure frame and kind face, Nancy has always been something of a hell-raiser. My grandmother used to say what Naughty Nancy lacked in height (she’s 4’10 on a good day) she made up in attitude, and she still does.
I always wanted to be just like my Aunt, and it turns out both of us are night people with zero tolerance for perky morning people. Even the thought of “rising and shining” is nauseating. Come to think of it, we’re kinda like vampires (vampires with kids and volatile tempers, but who’s keeping track???) Once, when I was about five, I made the big mistake of busting in on my Aunt during one of her famous afternoon siestas. She didn’t seem to care that she was supposed to be AWAKE while she was watching me, so I didn’t think she would mind a brief interruption while she was getting a few afternoon zzz’s. I regretted my decision the second I entered her bedroom. The door creaked ominously, a cold wind swept my shoulders, and I was suddenly face to face with…. the….CRYPT-KEEPER!! (of course this crypt keeper cursed at me in Spanish and smelled of cheap perfume) but I was terrified nonetheless. Her angry finger pointed to the door, her voice dark and scratchy like burnt toast. “GHEEEETTT OOOOUT….AND NEHHHHVVVVVEER WAAKKKKE ME UUUUUPPPP AGAAAIIIIINN” she hissed. I wanted to run, but I was sluggish from my greasy egg and cilantro breakfast. Instead, I did something I never expected to do. The shock was so draining, I actually put myself down for a nap… right there, next to “Crypty.” We snoozed together for hours, and later I awoke to the delightful aroma of Cuban coffee. My aunt was well-rested and in a jovial mood. I then realized sleep is a powerful medicine, taming even the crankiest of relatives.
Because of my early exposure to the un-dead, it’s no surprise I am quite the sleeper, and I will also threaten the very existence of any brave soul who dares disrupt my slumber. I sleep in complete darkness (even the dull glow of a clock radio is too much light to bear) moonlight is only to be enjoyed outdoors, and a thermostat set to 68 is my dream come true. My custom order room-darkening shades are soldiers in my battle against the light. Noise is also the enemy, unwelcome in my cave-like boudoir… luckily the humming of my Sleepmate white noise machine drowns out the world and unnecessary casualties are avoided. Heck, I’m ready for some REM’s right now!
Perky morning people beware.