Had you ever had a conversation with someone who’s acted strangely, and only later you realized why? (Something like, “Hmm… John sure was acting weird. Oh, right, his ex-girlfriend was also in the room. No wonder he was antsy when I asked him about this other girl.”)
I hardly ever remember my dreams, but yesterday I took a pretty long nap, and woke up right after having a dream in which the above situation occurred. I was talking to someone in a very crowded room and he had a cute little kid with him, and he acted very strangely when I asked how old the kid was. It was only later in the dream, after this interaction, that I realized why.
The reason is not important, but this experience totally fascinated me. While dreaming, my own brain constructed a scenario complex and subtle enough that even it couldn’t figure it out until later. I don’t know much about dreams (since I never remember them), but it kind of blew my mind. Has this happened to you before? I guess I always imagined dreams as a sensory and emotional adventure, reflecting my own thoughts, and not so much a real-world experience involving interactions with other people who actually appear to have independent thoughts and behaviors.
Okay, here is another sleep story. I have a habit of falling asleep in class, and this is mainly a result of this bizarre trait of mine whereby I get extremely tired whenever someone tries to lecture to me. Having an active discussion is okay, as is learning stuff on my own through alternate media (reading, watching TV, etc.) but when someone is actually telling me information that I have to think about and process to understand, I head towards unconsciousness at an alarming rate. Of course, the better the lecturer (the more engaging and lucid), the less I have to concentrate and the more I stay awake. On the other hand, if I’m at all tired to begin with, it’s a losing battle: there’s nothing I can do to stave it off.
It’s a totally physical response, too: I just start yawning uncontrollably, and then if there’s nothing to stop me, I’m out like a light.
Since I generally feel guilty about skipping class, I remember many times in college just walking into the classroom, taking a seat in the back row, and then passing out for the next hour or so. It was ridiculous. (I’m generally better now because I get much more sleep these days.) I ended up learning virtually all the material myself, in a frenzied rush before finals.
The worst was when I was in high school, also taking physics. Our physics teacher was sub-par; I think the average AP test score the year before was like a 2, and I wanted to get a 5. Luckily, my dad’s a physics professor and he was willing to help me out. He also happens to be an amazing teacher: I’ve read a bunch of his students’ course reviews (illegally, no doubt) and they’re disgusting: “amazing”, “hilarious”, “best teacher I’ve ever had”, etc. Anyway, so here I was, getting one-on-one tutoring from an awesome Yale physics professor… but you also have to factor in the fact that I need about 8-9 hours of sleep a night, and in high school I averaged like 5.
In general, I had gotten kind of used to the the lack of sleep, so I’d hold out most of the time. But when my dad tried to teach me something, my lecture-detection circuit would switch on and within minutes I’d be yawning nonstop. Huge, gaping yawns, sucking in liters of air. My dad, of course, didn’t know about this phenomenon, so he would say stuff like, “Wow, you’re really tired. You need to sleep more!” Which I guess was true, but the point was that after we’d finish with physics… I’d stop yawning. I felt really guilty, but there was really nothing I could do. Luckily everything turned out all right in the end.
Wow, that was a pretty boring story. It would be poetic if you were yawning now too :).
Anyway, I’ve been watching the NBA Playoffs a lot recently, and I just love watching basketball. I realized that there are two big factors determining why watching sports is entertaining: one, for the intrinsic entertainment of watching the game itself, and two, for the pleasure of rooting for the team you want to win (the excitement factor induced by the game).
Of the major team sports I follow, by the first (and more important, I think) factor, from best to worst:
That is, basketball is just an exhiliarating game to watch, even if you don’t care who’s going to win. The athleticism, team interaction, and scoring method all make it awesome.
By the second factor:
To me, baseball is normally excruciatingly boring, but during the playoffs — when you really care — the long, drawn out pauses between plays that would normally induce boredom actually make the game ridiculously tense and exciting instead. This is an interesting twist.
I know you guys really care about this stuff…