Last Friday night I was a little under the weather. I had a very bad cold and I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t breathe out of my nose. It was all kinds of awful.
So despite my best attempts at sleep, I was up until about 2:45 in the morning. I knew I wouldn’t be able to cover the bags I was certainly developing under my eyes with makeup the next morning. I prayed and bargained that, if I was made well within the next fifteen minutes, there was absolutely no way I would take the ability to breathe through my nose for granted ever again. (Even as I write this, I savor every breath of fresh air.)
It was around this point that I decided to try listening to Jeff Bridges’s sleep tapes. He’s currently hosting them on Squarespace, at a website aptly titled “Dreaming with Jeff,” which has the CD available for download: pay as you like, all proceeds to No Kid Hungry. It also allows you to stream the entire thing. I was sick and sleep-deprived. I figured, why not? He’s knowledgeable about relaxation. He must be, it’s the Dude we’re talking about! So I listened to the sleep tapes. And, for the fun of it, I turned on my phone’s recorder to record my reactions to the tapes.
What follows are my real-time, (mostly) unedited reactions to the tracks, one by one.
As usual, I’m not sorry.
- Alright, off to a good start. Very new-age.
- Wait, what? He’s laughing. Why is he laughing?
- Jeff Bridges is talking to me. How am I supposed to sleep if the great Jeff Bridges is addressing me?
- “Everything implies everything else.” That is deeeep.
- “I hope [the sleep tapes] inspire you to do some cool sleepin’.” Me too, Jeff. Me too.
Sleep Dream Wake Up:
- Ok, what’s happening now? Murmuring I think?
- Oh what–what the–what is going on?
- “You need to sleep so you can dream.” I KNOW. I KNOW.
- Is this a fever dream?
- THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF JEFFS AROUND ME TELLING ME TO SLEEP. HELP ME.
- JEFF IS THROAT SINGING “WAKE UP SLEEP” THIS IS HOW I DIE
- Okay. Okay. Maybe this is getting . . . NO, NOPE, NOW THERE’S LAVA SOMEHOW???
- Jeff Bridges is in my room and he’s probably going to kill me. I’m going to be Freddy Kruegered by the Dude.
Chimes for Dreams:
- Oh, thank God. Calm. No more guttural noises or creepy chants.
- This is nice, actually. I can get behind this. Can I sleep? Am I finally sleeping?
- Am I . . .
- No. No, I just sneezed and now I’m up and everything hurts.
- My whole body hurts. Why. What did I do to deserve this.
- He’s talking again. But it’s sweet. It’s the sweet, sweet voice of Jeff Bridges.
- Oh, I’m in Egypt. I’m on the Nile. I’m on the Nile and I’m humming. No wait, Jeff Bridges is the one humming and we’re on the Nile.*
- It’s not creepy after about ten seconds.
- Wait. Are we at a playground now? Did you record this at a playground? Those are child noises. I can’t sleep to the sound of children yelling.
*I listened to this track again in the morning. It had nothing to do with the Nile. I don’t know why I said any of that.
Good Morning, Sweetheart:
- Am I Jeff’s sweetheart now? Yes, of course I’ll hum with–oh. Oh, it’s your wife, you weren’t talking to me.
- I feel like I’m intruding on a private moment.
- Jeff is talking about me. I’m the one trying to sleep.
- Jeff’s wife is humming now.
See You at the Dreaming Tree:
- Oh, it’s the kids again. I can’t believe you recorded playing children. Why. Babies are shrill.
- I want to sleep I just want to sleep oh God why can’t I breathe?
- “There’s a ghost in there, come see it.” How about NO.
- Jeff is playing with random school children now. I too am a children.
- “I’ll see you in my dreams” strikes me as a creepy thing to say to a child.
- I want to fly around the dream tree too.
- What’s happening. Church bells? Kids are gone? The Ghost of Christmas Future is approaching. I’m scared. I don’t want to die. I can change. I won’t forget the lessons that the spirits have taught me and I will keep Christmas in my heart.
A Glass of Water:
- Yes, I’m comfy. Thanks for caring, Jeff, old bean.
- Thanks, I’d love some water. You’re my main man.
- Oh, he’s gonna tell me a story now, isn’t he the greatest?
- This is actually terrifying yet hypnotic. I read Poe’s poem earlier today; this is pretty trippy.
- There was no plot in this bedtime story.
- This entire track was just me laughing to myself.
- “When I die . . .” No, Jeff, you can never die. You’re a national treasure.
- Don’t spread your ashes in Ikea, Jeff.
- This is nice.
- “The sea is under the sky.” Correct. It is indeed under the sky.
- “The door is red. I will be in the blue chair.” I’m waiting for Jeff to come to my sea cottage.
- I just sneezed so bad, the Dude must be displeased with me.
- Sniffle sniffle.
- I’m finally staring at the pictures on the website. The scarab is staring into my soul. I am afraid.
- I’m in the woods, walking with Jeff. I’m actually visualizing this, it’s working. I CAN SMELL THE WOODS DESPITE MY LACK OF NOSE.
- It’s all so real.
- Another hiker? No, Jeff, don’t wave to him. Ugh. I don’t care if his name is Neil.
- There’s a puppy? Can we keep him?
- Wait. Why is there an office chair in the middle of the woods? Don’t go check it out. It’s obviously a trap.
- You kept the chair and lost the dog.
- What a fever dream, best time ever. I want to pretend everything you want.
- I am sitting in an office chair by a stream. Bless you.
- Wait there’s a copter? Why is there a helicopter in the woods, is that the president?
- Thanks, Obama.
- What if this is “Deliverance”?
- Jeff, I can’t hang-glide, I’m not physically fit enough. Please.
- I’m not going to wave to Neil if you made me get on a hang-glider.
- I’m so exhausted, that was quite a hike.
- I feel so beautiful but also so ugly.
- Jeff Bridges likes my haircut and thinks I’m intelligent. I matter to many people. I am accepted.
- I have what hands? Strong hands? What?
- I can carve a wood table yeah that’s right
- I am a positive addition to the world.
- Damn right I smell nice.
- I order well at restaurants.
- Obviously everyone wants to hear me sing happy birthday, I have golden pipes
- I feel oddly tingly and happy. Jeff Bridges may not know me but he’s helping me love myself and for that I love Jeff Bridges.
Seeing with My Eyes Closed:
- I’m on an emotional high. I’m also exhausted.
- I was almost ASLEEP UGH
- Are we witnessing a close encounter?
- Jeff is a philosopher of the highest caliber.
- What is happening, Jeff? Is this flatland? I swear to God.
I actually fell asleep at this point.
So I suppose these sleeping tapes actually work. I did indeed dream excellent dreams, and although I awoke the next day with a sore throat and a stuffy nose, I nevertheless felt rested. Thanks, Jeff Bridges. Thanks.