Things I’ve Been Observed Doing While Sleepwalking, Ages 4-23

Age: 4
Witness: My parents
Description: I make a habit of walking into my parents’ bedroom and standing at their bedside, releasing incoherent strings of words. “Mommy, milk the kitty state fair for the gingerbread next orange dinosaur tree cookie.” I’m still surprised they didn’t put me up for adoption.

Age: 12
Witness: Summer camp night watchman
Description: I’m at summer camp, and, knowing my tendency to jabber in my sleep, vigilantly fight the urge to rest to avoid spilling to the 10 girls I’m sharing a room with that I have a crush on a boy camper named Cameron. I never sleep-share my secret, but one night, I do walk down three flights of stairs to the kitchen, where I remove six ice cream cups from the freezer, eat two, and scoop the remaining four into a garbage can with my bare hands before returning to bed, tiny cardboard ice cream containers and little, melty orange and pink globs strewn along the way.

Age: 18
Witness: A guy I just had sex with
Description: After having fun, drunk, brief sex with one of my dorm mates, I drift off happily into sleep land while he clicks on Letterman or Conan or whatever was available in our decaying housing structure in the middle of Missouri in 2006. After about 15 minutes, I bolt upright in bed, eyes open, turn to him and shout, “You need an attitude adjustment!” before grabbing the entire blanket and stuffing it underneath me, “nest-style.”

Age: 20
Witness: My boyfriend
Description: I kiss my boyfriend goodnight and go upstairs to crash while he finishes cramming for an econ midterm. About an hour later, he slides into bed next to me and starts to drift off when I lightly touch his arm and mumble, “hey hey hey, go make me some mac and cheese.” He declines, to which I reply, “You asshole, I know you have milk and butter,” before turning over and falling silent.

Age: 23
Witness: Two girlfriends who let me crash on their futon
Description: I pass out at my friends’ apartment after a Wednesday wine night. In the morning, I drowsily collect my things and go home to get ready for work. My friends wander into their living room to find a series of objects placed about: a measuring cup is on a stool, six Mason jars are lined up in a row on the floor, and an electric pumpkin carving knife is balanced atop the middle jar. They’re a little freaked out, not knowing how this happened or if some weirdo jar/Halloween fetishist broke in during the night. The mystery is solved one year later when I tell them I have some sleeping issues.

- Natalie Berkley