To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

Woke up this morning from the first sound night's sleep I've had all week. As some of you will already know, my compiler has been drifting out of calibration over the last few months, and last Saturday it refused to lock in at all. Even at a 1:1 setting I couldn't get it to sync.

You know what that means. No fastsleep, no DreamChannel - and I get it for free too! - no...

I don't know if all of you use sleep compilers; it seems that these days everyone starts using them the same day they enter school. I didn't get my compiler until I was sixteen, and it's a hand-me-down from my grandfather, who gave it to me when he qual'd for the Eridani mission. It's an older style unit, built like a tank - it weighs more than I do! - with hospital-grade filtering and diagnostics. I couldn't afford a compiler like that on my salary, not in a hundred years.

Anyway, 3 am Saturday, just logged off from my volunteer work in Karelia, and I settled down for a good night's sleep. Set the wakeup for 7, set the ratio for 2.2, which is about as high as it's been willing to go lately, put on the headset and lay back and...


So I get back out of bed and take a look at the 'piler, and the telltale has gone orange from one end to the other. It had been taking on a bit of a lemon-lime tint lately, but this is a big shift. The diagnostics tell me Unable to establish synchronisation. Please refer to the manufacturer or an authorised recalibration centre.

Which is just great. I have to be up again in four hours and I have a defective compiler.

Well, nothing for it. I tell the house to give me a yell at 7 am and lie back down to sleep.


You guessed it. Okay, I've been using the thing for seven years now, but I hadn't realised just how dependent I'd grown on it. Anyone who's been out camping overnight could have told me this - in fact, some of my friends have probably mentioned it. But it's one thing to be out in the wild staring up at the stars, and another thing to be lying in bed, staring up at the darkness -

Totally. Unable. To. Sleep.

'Round about six I left a message with my friends begging off from the day's outing, and about half past seven I finally conked out. I woke up at a quarter to five in the afternoon. Just like that, my whole day was gone. I don't know how people ever managed to live this way. I don't know how I ever managed to live this way.

I soon found out that that was nothing. When you count everything up, my day job and my night school classes and travel to the office and back again and my volunteer work for the Karelian State Library, that's sixteen hours gone from most days. Since I need some time to wash and eat and stuff like that, there's no way I can get enough sleep without the 'piler. The chemist gave me some little pills to help me sleep - yes, chemicals! - and they worked, but they left me feeling drowsy in the morning. So, yes, more chemicals to wake me up. At least my co-ordinator at the Library was gracious about me needing to take some time off; and I don't think they even have sleep compilers in Karelia.

On top of that I had to organise for someone to pick up the compiler and take it in for calibration. And then I had to go in to the hospital myself, because one of the leading causes for not being able to sync with a compiler (or any neural headset) is brain abnormalities - like a tumour, or a stroke.

Oh. My. God.

But no, as it turned out, I was fine, and I even got company medical to pay for it. I wasn't due for a scan for another year, but they said not to worry about it. I love my job!

And in the end, for only half the price of a brand new set, I have my grandfather's sleep compiler back and working again. DreamChannel and all.

A good thing too, because they're running the new all-girl production of The Three Musketeers this week, and I'm D'Artagnan! Well, they used me as the template, anyway; I haven't qualified for acting work yet.

See you in your dreams!

Posted by: Trixie Misa at 08:42 AM


1 OK, I'll bite. What's a sleep compiler? Some sort of elaborate, hyperengineered biofeedback device?

Posted by: Mitch H. at January 27, 2004 01:53 AM (tVSJJ)

2 Basically, yes.

The idea is that it alters your sleep patterns to allow you to get a full night's sleep in three or four hours.

I doubt that it's anything like as straightforward as I make out, but I still want one.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 27, 2004 02:07 AM (jtW2s)

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