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Friday, June 17, 2016

Awakening


Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 59 seconds.

This was written as part of an AP English assignment back in 2007 after our class read Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman.



October 1, 2007

A man wakes up abruptly. He has overslept. He rushes through his house gathering his things: a briefcase, a jacket, his watch. He taps his foot impatiently while standing in front of his coffee maker, waiting for just enough of the brown liquid to seep into the pot below. Once enough has been poured the man flings open the cabinet doors to retrieve a coffee mug. He runs out of the front door into the pitch black of night and off to work. Fifty minutes have passed since he came home and went to sleep.

In this world, it has been discovered that time passes more quickly while sleeping. People always wondered at the phenomena; going to bed one minute and waking up the next only to find themselves aged and not rested at all, but now it is a proven fact that time speeds up for those who sleep. So, no one sleeps, at least, not that much. People have developed "sleep aids", pills not used to aid in going to sleep but in staying awake. Most people sleep an average of thirty minutes every 24 hours. These people can do hours more work, have infinitely more fights with their spouses, and a million other things that would typically require interruption and sleep, which in this world are synonymous.

Sleeping has now become a sign of weakness. People in high positions in society maintain the image of constant alertness. These are the manufacturers of the sleep aids. They don't care that the side effects of these pills can be deadly. They don't get paid to care. So people keep on taking the pills and when someone drops dead from exhaustion, it is typically said that they were always one to give in to fatigue, that they were the ones always dozing off in meetings or in the staff room.

There are some who don't take the sleep aids. These are the poets and the artists and lovers who have time to sleep, and if they didn't would make time. Their success depends not on how much stock they sell or how many meetings they can fit into a day; their lives depend on dreams. And without them, what is life worth staying awake for?

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