Friday, February 03, 2006
In the late summer of 1997, I mysteriously started sleepwalking. My friend Cara and I had gone up to Syracuse a week early in the hopes of finding jobs before everyone else got back to campus. (I ended up selling beer at the Carrier Dome during football games, on the upper level where all the townies sat. So glam.)
Of course, looking for a job took about two hours a day, which left plenty of time for Cara and I and the rest of our nefarious cohorts to loll around campus. We went shopping, to the gym and set up shop in our room at the sorority house.
The weather was great that time of year, as it often is during he fall semester at Syracuse. (The spring semester is another story.) One night, a Tuesday, we went over to the Sigma Nu house. We had a few beers, tops... four, and went home. Some time later I awoke in the front room of the sorority house, wearing nothing but a pair of flannel bikni briefs. (Men were not allowed in the house after 1:00 AM, so there was no chance of anything dirty having occured.) Joanne, the house mother, was peering over me, still wearing her nightgown. It was her second night on the job.
"Pauline? What is going on?" she asked
I looked around, realized it was three in the morning, and that I was pretty much naked and sleeping on the good blue couches. I said nothing, just leapt up, chased up the front stairs and dove under my covers.
I couldn't hide for long. Joanne tracked me down early the next morning. Being that she was new to the house, she wanted to know if there was anything she needed to know about me. As in, did I often wander around the house asleep and in my underwear? I told her no. There was nothing to worry about.
Joanne wasn't sold. Apparently there was more to the story than just my waking up on the blue couches. Apparently I came down the front stairs, walked into her little apartment, sat on her toilet, peed, flushed the toilet (that's when Joanne woke up) and then walked out again. After that I flopped on the couches in the front room and Joanne became certifiably freaked out.
I didn't have an answer. I couldn't blame booze, because I hadn't had that much. I wasn't on any medication. Joanne and I laughed about it. Maybe it was just a fluke?
Maybe. Until it happened two nights later.
More students trickled onto campus and by Thursday the bars were at full throttle. My ladies and I went out, whooped it up and made our way home. Only with me there was a snag: One minute I was happy and sittig on top of a booth at Lucy's, the next minute it was 9:00 AM, I was lying supine on top of my covers and still wearing the little black dress fromt he night before. Cara slept soundly in the bed across from me, yet a got a bad vibe.
I peeled myself off the bed and headed into the communal bathroom at the end of the hall. As I washed my face a girl named Kristy came in. She gave me a slightly dirty look.
"You know, Pauline, if I have to pick you out of the shower again, I'm going to be really mad."
I looked at her as if she was insane. "What are you talking about?"
Kristy wasn't pleased. "I came in here a few hours ago to pee and I found you asleep in one of the shower stalls."
"What are you talking about?" Not that I was getting worried, especially since I had no reocllection of this.
"I don't know. You came home with Cara and all them last night, and then a few hours later I found you sitting and snoring inside a shower stall. You really need to do something about this sleepwalking."
I heard what she was saying. In order to appease Kristy and Joanne and all the other girls (who actually thought it was funny that I was waking up naked and in strange parts of the house) I went down to the health center. Joanne made a good point that all this sleepwalking could put me in danger. I could trip over something or walk right out of the house and into shrubbery. Not a good scene.
For whatever reason I was sent to talk to a woman named Lena Rose, the rape crisis counselor (?!?). We talked for a good hour about school and partying and the like.
Being that I was a pretty good student and relatively stable, Lena sussed up my sleepwalking to stress and being in a new environment. I made the arguement that I lived in the sorority house before, in the same room, the semester before, and I was hardly a stranger to the party scene. There was no reason I should suddenly start sleepwalking.
Lena also had the theory that someone may have slipped something into my drink on Thursday night at the bars, because during that time roofies were a sizable problem on campus.
There was no concrete answer to any of it. Basically Lena sent me on my way and told me to stay out of trouble, espcially since I was doing so well already. I left her office, got my nails done at Garbo's and went back to the house, where the wild rumpus that was my junior year began.
And I've never sleepwalked since.