Sunday, February 19, 2006

An appointment to keep

I suffer from sleep apnea: sometimes when I fall asleep, I find myself hanging in a strange limbo state where my breathing stops, and I am conscious, but have no control over my limbs. If my eyes are open, I can see, and if I concentrate very hard, I can move a hand, or an arm - but it's almost as if there were a limited supply of volition in my body to go around, and only by pooling it in one part could I get anything to move. If I struggle, if I focus, I can break through this strange trance and start gasping for breath.

The first time it happened, when I was a teenager, I was frightened. That fear has never really gone away - the fear that I'll not start breathing again. When it gets very bad, I find I have to get out of bed and get fully awake before trying to sleep again. It's almost like hitting ctrl+alt+del to restart, or cmd+option+esc, to force quit a hanging application, except in this case the application is breathing.

Tonight is one of those bad nights, and so I'm up at the computer, getting myself awake before trying to sleep again. There's another reason I'm here though. In one of those transient moments drifting between sleep and wakefulness, I suddenly started thinking about my secondary school days. (apoxia must be triggering random neurons to fire)

I entered Raffles Insitution in 1986. I haven't thought about it much recently, but it was quite the life-changing experience. There's a lot I could say about my time there, but one thing came to mind tonight.

In 1986, in my first year at RI, my classmates and I made a pact - to meet again 20 years later to the day. The day was August 24th, and though 20 years seemed like an impossible time horizon when we named it, I realised tonight that it's this year. The place was to be the statue of Raffles on the Singapore River (good choice: in all the rebuilding and upgrading, they haven't touched that one). I can't remember the time now - it was either noon, or sunset (another prescient choice - lunchtime, or after working hours for the busy workaholics we were going to be in the future). Think I'll turn up at both times just to be sure. If any old classmates happen to be reading this ... well, put it down in your calendars. I have.

3 comments:

Tym said...

Your very own version of Before Sunrise/Sunset, minus Julie Delpy ;)

Anonymous said...

When I was in Sec 2, I was in a all boys class in a neighbourhood school. We were always playing pranks on our teachers. We were so monstrous that they have to assigned the teacher in charged of NCC to be our form teacher. Needless to say, he treated us like his recruits. That's any story.

Anyway, there was this very nice, patient English Teacher, Miss See. Somehow, she was still very fond of us, even though she nearly sprain her fingers beacause of one of our pranks. We made a pact to meet at the school, that very same class room in the year 2000 - about 10 years from the pact. Think none of us turn up...

Anyway, how did it go? you guys met? - TOHA

lionzub said...

What you describe is actually "Sleep paralysis" check it out on Wiki. I actually get the same thing throughout my life, the trick is to wiggle your toes or blink your eyes. For some reason those are the only things you can move.