This morning, I stayed up until 6 AM before finally going to sleep. Why, you ask? I'm not really sure. But I came up with a reason, so I thought I would share with you, so I feel slightly more justified, even though it really was just poor planning on my part.
Our heat turns on sometime in the evening (between 3 and 8 PM), but I'm never around when it turns on, or I'm not paying attention. I only notice that eventually I'm not freezing to death in my own apartment, and then I can be a real human being, instead of a pitiful, shivering bundle of clothing and misery. Since the heat is only on for a set number of hours (and I think it's on for WAY less than 12 hours, which is disheartening to me), I go to bed all toasty and warm and content, thinking naively that I will wake up in the same state to which I fell asleep, only to be rudely awakened in the morning to a loud alarm and the inability to feel my face or toes after they've frozen off.
So I had an epiphany last night. If I were to outlast the heater, I could go to bed cold, warm up the bed with my own hard-earned body heat, and then sleep in relative comfort, because there would be no sudden drop in temperature while I was unconscious and unaware of the malicious changes occurring in my surrounding environment. It seemed like a perfect plan for an unfortunate situation. If I had it my way, I would just crank up the heat and leave it blasting all night, most likely to the discomfort and chagrin of my other seven roommates, who are not as temperature deficient as I am.
So I stayed up with another nocturnal roommate and watched Sweeney Todd, comedy shows online, and then we listened to music. After, I skyped with my parents and friends for a while, while she skyped with her boyfriend. The time passed steadily. My plan was perfect. My roommate finally gave in to the sweet call of sleep around 4, but I was in an intense conversation with a friend about the wonders of bee juice (otherwise known as honey), and couldn't be pulled away. Then around 6, I was inundated by a flood of messages from friends demanding to know what time it was in Italy. I told them pleasantly, only to be bombarded with "WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?" or "GO TO SLEEP" or "WHY ARE YOU AWAKE, CRAZY?" I was unprepared for the hostility, and thus was shocked into realizing that my face was frozen and I couldn't feel my fingers very well (I was wearing thick socks, so my toes were protected... for a while). So I apologized to everyone for my bizarre sleeping habits and turned off my computer, ready to set part B of the plan into action.
I walked into my room, quietly, because my roommate was scheduled to wake up at 7 to leave for her holiday trip, and dressed for bed. I put on my warmest flannel and then pulled back my two comforters and blanket and sheet to snuggle into bed. I hopped in and sank into a bed of FREEZING (and yes, I did use that correctly in my sentence).
Suddenly, I was awoken to the terrible flaw in my plan. I had stayed up and deprived myself of any pre-sleeping happiness, because all the body heat I was planning to use that night had been cruelly ripped from my body, leaving me bare and vulnerable to the evils of the cold, hungry night. I lay, shivering, in my bed, clutching the blankets to my chest in hopes that they would share their warm secrets with me. But the selfish cloth divulged nothing.
Somehow, I managed to generate enough body heat to defrost myself to the point where I was no longer a human popsicle and miraculously fell asleep. My roommate woke up shortly after, but I was comatose and didn't even hear her at all. When I did wake up, I experienced the same misery I felt every morning: cold, numbness, and a genuine dislike for the heaters that failed me. Only this time, I had no warm and fuzzy memories of the night before, because I had squandered my precious warmth to listen to singing comedians serenade me with their humor.
I look at the clock. It reads 10:17. I squint and put the clock closer to my face, hoping that somehow the digital numbers would shimmer and morph into a different time, telling me that I had gotten more than 4 hours of sleep. But no. The numbers glared back, refusing to compromise. But finally, they gave in, but yielded only one more minute as the time read 10:18, but somehow I am not convinced it had anything to do with my power to sway time.
Too cold to go back to sleep, I rolled out of bed and decided to reward myself with a hot shower. Perhaps then I would remember what it was like to be warm. I stumbled into the bathroom, switched on the light, and placed my unsuspectingly bare foot on the tile. I woke instantly, shot to the core with numbing cold.
And no, my dear reader, it is not due to merely cold tile. Cold tile I could bear. But sometime in the morning, when I was passed out in my ice tomb, otherwise known as my bed, someone had gone into the bathroom and turned on the shower and sprayed the entire bathroom with water. I suppose that it was hot water at one point, but by the time it forcefully greeted my skin, it had chilled to sub-zero temperatures. I could only imagine someone preparing to take a shower, when, suddenly, a ninja mosquito appears out of nowhere, intent on causing pain and misery to its victim, and because ninjas move fast, the shower victim could only think to drown the mosquito in a spray of water and would not rest until the mosquito had fallen and perished in the killing flow. Or they were practicing ballroom dance moves and needed a partner, and the nearest thing was our detachable shower head. Or the shower head was suddenly seized by an evil spirit and chased the poor person around the bathroom until it was strangled and tamed. But however it happened, I was left to forge my way through the battlefield.
The shower head did not attack me, nor did anything happen during my shower except that the water warmed me and I became cleaner, and I did wake up significantly, so I decided that I would dress and make breakfast for myself. I went into the kitchen and saw my can of oats sitting on the counter and knew that I would be devouring oatmeal for breakfast. I pulled out a pan (because we don't have a microwave, so we have to make things the hard way), and cooked my oatmeal. Then I spooned it into a bowl and sprinkled it with a teaspoon of brown sugar. And then I had a wonderful idea.
I know that brown sugar is only ever logically paired with cinnamon when you want to create an epically awesome taste experience, and I was appalled that I had not put cinnamon in my previous bowls of oatmeal whilst I had eaten it in Italy. I grabbed the jar of cinnamon and measured out a teaspoon of it as well. I was so excited for my bowl of cinnamon and brown sugar oatmeal I couldn't wait. But of course, I couldn't just mix it in and leave it at that. I lamented all the bowls of oatmeal sans cinnamon I had ever eaten and decided to make up for it by putting the missing cinnamon into this bowl of oatmeal I was preparing to eat. Before my brain could send off alarms and remind me that I am a rational human being with the ability to make intelligent decisions, I shook out what must have been enough cinnamon to feed cinnamon and brown sugar oatmeal to a family of twelve for a week*. I mixed it in with gusto and spooned some of it into my mouth.
NEVER PUT THAT MUCH CINNAMON IN ANYTHING. Unless it's a jar in which you store cinnamon so that you can use it in small quantities. VERY small quantities.
Determined not to waste the oatmeal, I drowned my concoction in milk and sugar and forced it down. One of my housemates came in and tried to start a conversation, but it was everything I could do not to let my stomach reject what I had cruelly shoved into it. My housemate kept up an awkward monologue while I nodded and made strangled noises in hopes that she would interpret them to be active listening noises. I don't think she quite understood.
I drank all the juice I had in the refrigerator to rinse out the taste, and still everything smelled like cinnamon to me. But I followed my housemate into her room and we planned out things to do for our Fall Break trip, and it was very productive and we didn't make any bad decisions at all.
I still have to pack, but we (me and three of my roommates) are leaving tomorrow to go on break and will be in Paris, Barcelona, and London. We'll return on Sunday, October 31st, and I'll update shortly after that to fill you in on my adventures. I am so excited to go! Until then, be safe, stay warm, and don't make poor decisions when you're sleep deprived.
*I am aware that too much cinnamon can be toxic, and I suppose at this point I exaggerate in my story. However, there was definitely too much cinnamon for one bowl of oatmeal, and I thought it would be a more dramatic story the way I tell it here. So worry not, I will escape coumarin poisoning.