This past week I took part in my annual tradition of counseling at our Church’s week-long Sr. High Camp. I spent the week exploring my faith and relationship with God, strengthening old friendships, and making new friends. I know I probably shouldn’t play favorites, but there was one person who stood out from the crowd this week. I never caught her name, but she was a sassy old black woman who only made an appearance at night while one of my campers talked in her sleep. For the sake of this post, I will refer to said sassy, old, black woman as La-a (pronounced ‘LaDasha’ because the “-” don’t be silent.)
I’ve known people to do crazy things in their sleep, but I’ve never experienced anything like this.
Campers arrived, we all got settled in and by the time “lights out” came, we tossed and turned and didn’t sleep, so much as rest, which is typical first night of camp stuff.
By now we actually felt tired and sleep came a lot easier. I remember lying there when a noise jolted me awake. I was pretty sure one of my girls had just said very loudly, “Yah! I’ll fight you!” At the time I didn’t think much of it but I brought it up at breakfast the next morning.
Me: “I’m pretty sure one of you girls were talking in your sleep. Tori, it sounded like it was coming from you. You yelled, “Yah! I’ll fight you.”
Tori didn’t think she had said anything in her sleep and was pretty sure it was someone else, but Cathy, whose bunk was right next to Tori’s bed added, “Yah, I heard that. She also yelled, ‘Come at me, bro’.” At this point I was intrigued.
We slept outside under the stars. The seven of us, along with my friend Shannon, all huddled our sleeping bags together on a tarp. I slept next to Tori. It was time to go to bed, but we were telling stories and chatting it up, when she fell asleep. Over the next two hours she would randomly blurt things out. After about 10 minutes, I sent one of my girls back to the cabin to get her notebook, a pen and flashlight. Here are some of the things we heard:
“My head’s bangin’ to what’s bangin’! Turn the music up, I gotta fist pump!” (followed by actually fist pumping in her sleep)
“It’s Michael Jackson time! Don’t touch me Michael! Get away! You got a twitch!”
“Fire! Fire! Run, Nanna, Run! I told you to run, old lady!”
“Get your cow out of here!”
“You ugly! You so ugly, you a frog face!”
“You need to clip those nails. Don’t you dare touch me, bro! … Okay. French tips, with just a little sparkle.”
“Don’t you dare fart in my frigidaire!”
“No, Bigfoot! Get away from me! Your feet are too big! You gonna crush me! Bigfoot, you makin’ me hungry with that carrot. You want some salad with that dressing? Bigfoot, these carrots are good- need more ranch though. No, Bigfoot! Don’t kiss me, that’s gross. (followed by little kissy noises) No Bigfoot! No tongue!”
At this point I woke her up before her dream got PG-13. We talked about what she had said, and she remembered having a nightmare about a fire, but before the conversation could go further, she had passed out again.
Also by this point, I had been scolded several times by the camp directors for having such a noisy group of girls. I told them to park their golf cart and sit by my tarp for 2 minutes:
Tori: “Jerk! You ugly, bro! You a frog face! Bugs! Bugs! Itchy! Scratchy!”…
The golf cart drove away. It didn’t come back. We continued to write down everything Tori said. We stopped after 5 pages.
Things progressively got worse. On Tuesday, most of the sleep talking was intermittent with a burst of chatter occurring every 4-5 minutes or so. By Wednesday, the chatter became nonstop. If there was a pause in the dialogue, it was filled with wild goat-like laughter and the reputation of the phrases, “You scared! You scared, bro!” or “He dead! He dead, bro! He so dead he farts dust!”
Wednesday night’s sleep talking mostly took place in a night club/ karaoke bar? I say this because there was a lot of dancing and singing involved. Also, La-a does not like it when she’s singing and people try to “fart in her microphone.”
Tori: “I gots to sing, bro! Don’t you fart in my microphone! I gots to sing. I’m a black woman and I gots to sing my soul! Praise Jesus!”
La-a also had strong feelings about how dumb Britney Spears was, with her shaved head, and felt it was an urgent matter that Beyonce get a booty reduction.
After about 45 minutes of non-stop sleep taking, I woke Tori up and would not let her head touch her pillow until all of us were situated and I had some music playing. This seemed to work. Once the music was going, I didn’t hear a peep out of her.
During rest time, Thursday afternoon, I showed Tori some video I had taken of her sleep talking. She too was confused as to why she turned into a sassy, old black woman in her sleep. We tried to get her to do the voice from her sleep talking and she couldn’t do it.
Here is a short clip of what happened Thursday night. I say short because she probably went on for a good 40 minutes.
Oh, boy! What can I say about Friday’s chatter? For a good part of her rambling, La-a is hosting her own television talk show. Let me preface by saying 1.) My nickname at camp is Bubby- and yes, I make a cameo in her dream. 2.) Tori refers to her bed as her “island” since it is the extra one we had to wedge on the floor. 3.) Previously, Tori had been sleep talking about her runaway pumpkin that was going to smash a cat as it rolled down the hill. 4.) One of Tori’s classes she took this week was “Relationships.” In this class campers talked about anything they wanted that had to do with various types of relationships. I found out later that one camper had mentioned the word “sex” once that day in class and there wasn’t even really a discussion about it. If there had been a discussion, perhaps it would have gone something like this: