I am letting myself be recorded 24/7, or at least attempting continuous documentation. In this pursuit I finally did what I’d been curious about for years: I watched myself sleeping. I’ve have long wanted to explore that third of my life and how I behave, relying only on partners’ reports of my deep-sleep shenanigans and occasional wildness. Reviews are pretty uniform: I snore hard and loud soon after falling asleep, quickly settling down to a distant rumble. But at some point I might grab her by the face or turn over and land right on top of her, blissfully unconscious and unaware.
It must be relatively recent, then, that I howl like a damned hyena, since no one ever commented on that. I woke myself and, possibly, an upstairs neighbor some weeks ago when I woke up absolutely howling in response to an instantly forgotten nightmare. Waking up screaming is not new to me, but the recent spate of possibly waking others is troubling.
Having finally made video of myself sleeping I find I don’t need to watch much to satisfy the curiosity factor. The hypnic jerks seemed disturbing at first but after a few of those I didn’t care anymore.
I wanted to catch myself doing what I’ve to myself for a long time, which is scratch myself on the face or torso. I don’t know if that tendency toward unconscious self-mutilation should trouble me or if it is common. I never watched the video far enough to see myself do that, concluding the act of scratching my face would probably be undetectable anyway.
When I howl like a hyena my eyes open. That’s a little weird to see.
Would some consider it narcissistic, watching myself falling into what I melodramatically refer to as The Bottom Of My Ocean? I don’t think so. It was strictly research, the likes of which failed to occur when I submitted myself to a professional sleep study some years ago. The girlfriend at the time suggested I do it.
It was a waste of time. The technicians at the place I was supposed to sleep would gab on their cell phones, and I’d hear their alerts whenever a text message arrived. One guy even played the radio. How was anybody supposed to sleep at this place, not just on account of the noise but the ridiculous tangle of wires and sensors they wrapped around my head.
It can be hard for me to get to sleep in the first place, so it didn’t help that the technician kept barging in, asking me why the hell I couldn’t get to sleep, then getting visibly frustrated and basically telling me to “go the fuck to sleep.”
The official insurance-covered sleep study was a boondoggle. I learned more from watching myself using my own gear.
I procured a decent but cheap surveillance camera, the type meant for monitoring babies or pets. It is a Ctronics device, which lacks a fundamental feature I had foolishly assumed would be included. You cannot export the video. Video is only viewable through the Android app. Removing the MicroSD card and browsing the files returns a bunch of encrypted files unviewable through any means except the app.
The workaround, if you could even call it that, is that the app allows you to record video as you play it back. That technique is not useful for saving 8 or 9 hours of video.
The camera also must be plugged in for it to work. I knew that before purchasing but find that minor albatross to be a more of a drag than I expected. If I ever again pursue this fascination I will make sure to get a battery-powered camera which allows the video to be extracted for editing.
This is hardly the first time I’ve pursued the goal of documenting every step I take, every word I type, every last scrap of evidence that I actually existed. For years I had webcams pointed at me almost 24/7, and somewhere around here I have thousands upon thousands of saved images to show for those years of digital hoarding.