Meetings, for me, have a devastating effect on alertness. Without fail, a meeting will slowly lull me into a state of helpless catatonia just as the points of the agenda are read off in that familiar monotone. This may be due in part to the fact that meetings are, on the whole, as stimulating as a potato, and not actually productive. For some people, I understand, meetings are the measure of work. For me however, meetings serve as little more than an opportunity for struggle. Namely: is it possible to hide the symptoms of narcolepsy from my superiors?
Fortunately I’m not the only one thus afflicted. I say this not because misery loves company, but because the plight of others is the only solution to my own struggle for wakefulness. Strange as it may seem, when I see someone across the table give in to the irresistible pull of chin to chest, I feel a renewed sense of alertness. Like a cannibal who receives the wit and wisdom of those whose brains he’s eaten, it’s as if I were receiving the unused energy, parasitically, from the hapless coworker on whom my gaze has fallen.
Sometimes it’s enough to keep me going for another few minutes–just long enough to find another host. They can doodle until their pens cut through the paper, but there is no resisting the siren song of sleep that sets in soon after the meeting commences. Not unless they catch me nodding first.