It’s my understanding that alcoholism doesn’t have a foolproof set of criteria, that there are alcoholics who go long stretches without drinking or thinking of drinking, and it has occurred to me that insomnia is much the same way. You can go several days not only sleeping regularly, but sometime voluminously.

But man, when it hits, it’s just indescribable. Insomniacs can’t go without sleep, when you hear about Edison sleeping for three hours at a stretch his whole life, he wasn’t an insomniac. You actually need the sleep, you just simply don’t get it.

And it’s the world that changes. You start wondering how people reach their conclusions, how their minds manages to travel from one reasonable set of assumptions to what seem to be completely foreign conclusions. But then, for a second, you understand, you see clearly what others see, and that’s when you start to get worried. In that second of sharing a common reality with the rest of the world, it begins to be clear just how far afield your mind goes when the deprivation goes this long.

And now, in my fourth day of no more than three or so hours of uninterrupted sleep at a stretch, I’ve started to realize I’m lost in the middle of conversations. Last night I wasn’t quite sure at any point how I had arrived at where I was. But it isn’t a fever, it isn’t incoherence, I can go back and draw the line of my actions that landed me, say, in a deli at Lincoln Center, but I have to bear down and focus, like a movie I haven’t been paying attention to. I have to force my thoughts as if out of a sweaty constipation, grabbing the edge of my seat and holding my breath.

I find myself sweating all the time, when I’m not completely chilled. And I haven’t completed a task in two days that didn’t take three other half completed tasks to marry it to. And now the weather is in collusion, I’m walking around my 80 degree apartment from room to room, knowing it’s 5 degrees outside, like a caged animal in a controlled environment. I feel like the angry snake at the zoo, the one that the handlers don’t want to fuck with because he keeps biting people.