The Blank Canvas

I love sleeping. When I was younger I used to say “if I could get a job sleeping, I’d work 24/7”. Nowadays I prefer being awake but there’s something marvellous about a really good quality deep sleep.

I’m also a fan of the afternoon (or “granny”) nap. Although I have a full time job, I’m lucky that I finish at lunchtime on a Friday and often run a couple of errands and then go home, have lunch and have a nap. If I’ve had a busy week, I’ll often find that the nap extends to 2 hours or so and is so refreshing that I often feel like I’ve had an 8 day week as the nap is good enough to have felt like a proper overnight sleep. Bliss.

However, when I was working over in Switzerland commuting back to the UK every couple of weeks, a strange thing happened to me one night.


I went to bed as normal on Friday night and had my usual post flight knockout sleep. Overseas commuting is knackering really. It sounds so terribly glamorous to anyone who’s never had to do it, but trust me when I say that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Living and working abroad is pretty much like living and working in your home environment except nothing around you is permanent or truly familiar. Still, I digress.

So – on Saturday morning I woke up. Except I didn’t know it was Saturday morning. And I wasn’t entirely sure I’d woken up. In fact, I didn’t know anything. My mind was completely and utterly blank. Not just the “I’ve slept really heavily” blank. I mean – for the first 3 minutes or so that my eyes were open, I couldn’t have told you who I was, where I was or what I was doing there. It was like everything had been completely and utterly wiped clean. Like a blank canvas – just waiting for something to be imprinted on it.

Fortunately, it didn’t last long enough for me to get scared or worried. In fact, in some respects it was quite pleasant: no expectations, no plans, no ideas (well that’s nothing unheard of for me). I still wonder, if anyone had been physically present in the house, whether I’d have known who they were if this weird thing had gone on any longer. Total amnesia.

It’s never happened since. Well, not that I can remember anyway ….. 😐

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