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Tacitly Yours

Help, I'm suffering from Olympics-induced insomnia

For the past week I have been having to stumble through my day on five or six hours of sleep. That's not to say I'm not happily tucked into my bed by 11 p.m. every night. But instead of lying my head down on the pillow and heading off to la-la land, I have been sitting up, zombie-like in my bed while I watch every second of the Olympics.

Monday night, I slipped into bed, turned on the television and found myself, for no particular reason, completely enveloped in the world of Olympic competition. I sat up and watched for awhile, but as the hours ticked by I began to slump down, until my head was on my pillow. Despite this comfortable position, I couldn't tear my eyes from the action. I needed to know who was going to win the gold.

After Monday night, I told myself that I wasn't going to allow this to happen to me again. But then came the women's gymnastic team finals on Tuesday night (or at least I think it was Tuesday, all the days are beginning to run together). Once again, I had this deep need to wait around, through all of the other competitions, to see which team came away with the gold. I was glued to my television set as the women's team found themselves having to bow to the Romanians, who ultimately took the team gold.

Again, Wednesday night came and I thought to myself...just go to bed. Don't turn on the television set, don't let your thoughts dwell on who might be competing - just go to sleep. Did I listen to myself? No way.

Instead, I retreated to the bedroom where I watched with bated breath while the men competed in the gymnastics all-around. It was amazing to see the United States' Paul Hamm battle back from 12th place to win the gold. Sure, it meant I was barely cognitive Thursday morning, but I still think it was worth it.

I have found that I am not the only one who is suffering from Olympics-induced insomnia. Others in my office have been showing up with the same glazed look first thing in the morning, buzzing about the results of the latest competition.

I'm not sure why I have been so obsessed with the competition this year. I have even found myself watching more than just gymnastics, the only thing I usually watch. Instead, I have found myself getting worked up about everything from the 100-meter freestyle to the shotput competition, which was held on the same grounds the original Olympics were held thousands of years ago. (See, I really am obsessed. Would I know that if I hadn't have been glued to my television for the past week?)

I want to say that when I go home tonight, I will be responsible enough to tear my eyes away from the Olympics long enough to get at least eight hours of sleep. But, I know, deep down, that those gosh-darned Olympic announcers are going to pull me in again, using their energetic voices to rob me of more precious sleep.

. Elena Olmstead can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail her at eolmstead@eaglenewspapers.com

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