anne mikolay 2012 120Hello. My name is Anne, and I'm an insomniac.

Please don't offer me warm milk. Apparently, the enzyme tryptophan has no effect on me. While naturalists recommend chamomile tea (yuck!) to promote slumber, not even sleep deprivation can force me to drink it. Of course, there are prescription and non-prescription sleep aids, but I'm not keen on side effects. So...where does that leave me?

It leaves me awake in the middle of the night, listening to the clock ticking away the minutes while my mind bounces from random thought to random thought. A few examples:

While mentally reviewing the recent Republican debates, I can't help thinking Donald Trump resembles a bulldog. (My sincere apologies to bulldogs.) It next occurs to me that I might post my observation to Facebook.

And while I'm thinking of Facebook, I recall a Facebook comment that Marie Osmond “still looks good” at the age of fifty. My reaction is two-fold: 1) Any woman, at any age, could “still look good” if she had access to as many wigs and as much makeup and plastic surgery as Marie Osmond has; 2) Stating Marie Osmond “still looks good” at the age of fifty implies women are no longer physically attractive when they hit the big 5-0. So...shame on whoever posted the original comment on Facebook (had to be someone less than fifty).

And then I ponder Facebook's proposed “dislike” button. Reportedly, Facebook is seeking a more logical way for its users to express empathy for sorrowful postings; after all, hitting “like” and effectively giving a thumbs up to postings of personal or national tragedies seems a bit twisted. But a “dislike” button? Really? You need not be a psychiatrist or sociologist to figure out how adolescents and internet trolling sociopaths might use such a device. A “dislike” function on Facebook is akin to handing cyberbullies a permanent hall pass and is nothing more than a virtual slam book. Life slams kids enough. Why add fuel to the fire? Thumbs down to a Facebook “dislike” button.

And thumbs down to the lady turning her car's steering wheel the wrong way as she clumsily attempted to back out of her parking space in the Shoprite Plaza during my last visit to the store. Lady, if you would put the cell phone down for just a moment and put two hands on the steering wheel, you might be able to back out straight. An additional thumbs down to the lady driving toward me on the wrong side of the road in the same shopping plaza; if you can't figure out which side of the road to drive on, it's time to surrender your license. Thumbs down to anyone who thinks these goofy women represent all female drivers. Don't let them persuade you men are more skilled behind the wheel. It was an elderly man holding up traffic doing twenty the other day on Route 35, and a young man in a red, speeding car weaving in and out of traffic on the Garden State Parkway last week. In conclusion, idiot drivers rank among both genders.

Such are the less than noteworthy realizations of an insomniac.

Insomnia does have its benefits, however. I've done some of my best writing in the solitude of sleeping hours (or, for me, the non-sleeping hours), and I've had some great post-midnight conversations with relatives via Facebook. I've read some books on my kindle (Gillian Flynn's “Gone Girl”, a disappointing read; “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins, pretty good), and I've watched some educational television (thank you, PBS). All things considered, however, I'd rather not have insomnia, but there's not much I can do about it. Scientists have discovered the often debilitating sleep disorder can be genetic. Thus, I must remain exactly who I am: a blue-eyed, brown-haired, pale, Irish, sleep deprived gal who writes fiction, laughs at Donald Trump, and ruminates upon trivialities in the dark of night.

In other words, an insomniac.