One evening a few weeks ago, I realized I couldn’t get to sleep. The day had been a bust, the weather miserable and the roads impassable. I hadn’t been out for a walk or gone to Zumba, and if I don’t expend enough energy, I don’t get a good night’s sleep. Here’s a scientific equation about it. E X 2 = GNS. My math. I started googling, because that’s what I do when I have a problem. I google and I pray, a combo that usually works very well for me. I wrote something like ‘relaxing videos’ into the search bar and a video on YouTube popped up. It was a twenty minute segment of someone brushing some else’s hair. ‘Well, that’s weird,’ I thought, but I kept watching and before too much time had passed, I fell asleep, phone in hand, slumped over my pillow like I’d popped a couple of sleeping pills. I woke a few hours later, turned off my light and promptly fell back asleep.
The next night I went directly to YouTube and found another hair brushing video. It started out okay, but quickly got irritating. The woman holding the hairbrush started whispering about what she was going to do with it. Suddenly, I felt very uncomfortable. It wasn’t pleasant whispering, either. It was like that smacking sound some people make when they eat. And then she started running her fingers over the tines of the comb, and then feeling up her hairbrush like she wanted to do something illegal with it. I actually yelled at my phone.
Since my husband died, I have a large supply of tolerance for big picture problems, but the tiny things can send me over the edge. And there is nothing worse than freaking out without someone there to listen. It feels so pointless. Little did I know that it was one of the important parts of a good marriage. That sounding board of practical advice, telling you when you’re acting crazy.
Over the next few weeks, I started refining my searches. I’d type things like, ‘No talking, just hair brushing.’ But it was hard to find the right video when I added, ‘No stroking of the hairbrush or comb.’ I ended up getting videos of people stroking each other with feathers. Or doing fake reiki, or waving their hands wildly over people’s heads with their exaggeratedly long fingernails, which were creepy in a ‘how can they possibly be clean,’ way. Then, I had an uncomfortable revelation.
I was acting like Walter White from the TV show, Breaking Bad; a teacher with cancer who paid his massive medical bills by making and selling meth. Next thing you know, he’s turned pro and feeling no remorse whatsoever. So this is how it happens, I thought. You dip your toe in the water and the next thing you know, you’re a criminal. If I kept this up, would I jump from watching hair brushing videos to kinkier stuff? What if feathers didn’t do it for me? And now I’m afraid to search for anything else, because God only knows what’s out there.
Perhaps its time to wean myself from this kind of sleep aid. It’s time to bring back the Rosary, the essential oils and the common sense idea of turning off electronics a few hours before bed. I’m just too staid for anything more than that. So you keep brushing other people’s hair, YouTube ladies. It is indeed relaxing, and since over 500,000 people have watched, I’m not the only one who thinks so. But, please. Stop hissing out your game plan and feeling up your hair dressing supplies. You’re making all of us feel very uncomfortable. We had a good thing going, but it’s over. And now I’ll just do one last search and call it a night…