Uberman On-Ramp Day 5: Mid-day
Make that "Late mid-day" (jeez, it's already 5).
Got up at 8:30am. My wife didn't comment on this, which is unusual. Ordinarily, if I crawl out of bed before 11, she knits her brow, all concerned and asks, "Are you sick?" That's what a slug I am. But I got up. Second day in a row. Something is happening. Maybe I'm going almost directly to an Everyman sleep schedule. See notes below about how that's a departure from plan, and what it might mean.
HOW IT'S GOING
Caffeine withdrawal: one cup of decaf, one of regular. No cocoa so far. Attacks of drowsiness, but reasonable energy.
Everyman habits: one attempt that I assumed would fail, at noon. Some slight hypnogogia, though. Then struck by drowsiness after lunch, and had a nap around 2:15, only interrupted by cat (Luna) stepping up onto my chest for a nap of her own. (INTERRUPTIONS AND SOLUTIONS NOTE: it's not enough to make sure their food dishes are replenished -- gotta nap somewhere they can't reach me.)
Smoking -- don't ask.
Meditation -- some done lying down for first nap attempt. Main observation: I'm way out of practice.
Dream journal: made an entry just after getting up. Something about a kidnap of me and a Chinese-American math professor during his office hours.
Focusing: read more of Gendlin over lunch, and before nap attempts.
Breakfast: didn't. Bad.
CRON-ish diet: Soup Stock Tokyo for lunch, pretty light (their two-soups set.)
Exercise: I thought really hard about going swimming, in fact so hard that I was almost out of breath at the end. Aren't you proud of me? Took a walk around the block.
Establishing wake-up call network: nada, unless my efforts this morning to frame policy on the Polyphasic Google group count as brownie points with people who might volunteer to wake me by phone.
WHAT IT ALL MEANS
So how is the plan going? Well, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.
I had planned to
(1) taper off caffeine,
(2) use the resulting greater sleeping time to buffer nicotine withdrawal,
(3) reduce my sleep hours to an Everyman schedule,
(4) then try Uberman.
What seems to be happening is that I can't count on caffeine-withdrawal-induced sleep time increases to buffer nicotine withdrawal. Even the few naps resulting from merely practicing being on a nap schedule seem to be reducing my core sleep time. This is consistent with my past Everyman experience, when I hardly cut back on stimulant intake at all, just moderated it when a nap was approaching. It's also consistent with other anecdotal reports: once you've done polyphasic, it's easier to get back on it again.
My core sleep last night was from about 1:30 am to 8:30, several hours less than my usual -- and considerably fewer hours than when I've quit caffeine in the past. What may end up helping is something I've noticed in the past: I also sleep more when I quit smoking. Unlike caffeine withdrawal, which I can't do cold-turkey (I get migraines usually), nicotine is a "Just Do It" proposition. Maybe it's already time. This scares me: I get very irritable on the third day, and often relapse after some outburst (typically at my wife, which doesn't help matters at all.)
HOW I MIGHT COPE
One of the biggest helps in getting through nicotine withdrawal has been finding something to do with my hands. Usually it's something that doesn't require a lot of brainpower, but that I still find intellectually satisfying in some way, and that's a problem. The main thing I do with my hands these days is type, but I hate myself for writing dreck, whether it's prose or code. Worse, whether I'm hating writing dreck or exultant over some (usually imagined) brilliance, my first impulse is to smoke. I don't have any busywork hobbies.
The last time I quit smoking for any length of time, I spent almost two weeks obsessively messing around with Pykrete. (At one point, I was filling balloons, pasting soggy toilet paper over them, and freezing them, making these big weird icy eggs that were satisfyingly difficult to crush. My friends feigned great amazement.) The last time I quit for a short stretch, I was messing around making Very Rich Dirt: finely mincing food garbage, putting it out in plastic containers to ferment for week or so, grinding up charcoal and mixing it in. In this, I was inspired by ECOSS, a carbon-negative soil amendment with a Stone Age precursor in Tera Preta soils. I felt so Green, so much like some kind of soil alchemist.
But maybe it's time for something humbler, more mundane. Like growing potted plants on the roof. Yes, we have some storage places that are hideously cluttered, and organizing them would engage my mind and my fingers. And it would be to the point: it would help secure nap space. But if past is prelude, it would also engage the possessive owners of all that junk (mostly my wife and her daughter). This has proved to be a source of explosive issues in the past. Getting into explosive issues while I'm quitting tobacco lead to explosions, which lead to flustered visits to the convenience store to buy cigs and smoke a bunch of them. Can't have that. So maybe it's gardening after all.