Two Instances of Genius

15th March 2007

1. I was reading a New Yorker article about an entomologist who used to roll her hair up in the car window when she was driving while sleepy so that her hair would jerk her awake if she fell asleep at the wheel.

2. Alice’s correspondence with age Four and a Half will hurt you with its brilliance. Read it, and do not stop until you get to the bit about Obi-Wan Kenobi.

20 thoughts on “Two Instances of Genius

  1. Monkee

    I roll my hair up in the car window all of the time. Maybe I’m a genius and I just don’t know it! That would be so much better than just being a klutz. I’m totally telling people it was on purpose now. =)

  2. lindsay

    Heh. My friend’s dad always claimed he drove with only his right hand on the wheel, so that if he fell asleep his arm would fall downward, which would pull the car towards the curb instead of into oncoming traffic.

  3. Klaas

    Pulling over and sleeping is less injurious than getting your hair pulled. Also, bonus, you don’t risk the lives of yourself and the people around you. Having 1) woken up in the median once and 2) a wife who was rear-ended at highway speeds and driven into a guardrail (for double the bone-breaking goodness!) by what I’m positive was a sleeping driver, I’m so very done with driving tired. If it’s to the point where you know you’re falling asleep and feel the need to roll your hair into the window, I consider that barely better than driving drunk.

    Such a ray of sunshine I am…

  4. Sonja

    1) That is absolutely brilliant. Much better than rolling down the window and listening to very loud music.
    2) I love Alice. Love.

  5. Maggie Ann

    Alice’s correspondence filled my heart with such bliss I had to read it outloud to my boyfriend. Because just him reading it by himself would not cut it, we had to share in its cutenicity.

  6. Keetha

    Thanks so much for sharing Alice’s conversation with Four and a Half. I have a five year old and this made my heart just melt. Thanks!

  7. melissaS

    Brilliant. I had a long commute to college my last year and I would often find my mind trying to rationalize just closing my eyes for “one minute” on a straight stretch of US23.

    I had long hair then. This may have helped.

  8. Liz

    I’ve been thinking about that hair in the window thing all week. I think it would work if you were very tender-headed and the hair pulling hurt. Otherwise, wouldn’t it just hold your head upright, which would keep you from that important nod that wakes you up?

  9. jamier

    A loong time ago, I decided it was a good idea to keep a cigarette lit in my hand during a long sleepy drive. That way I’d HAVE to stay awake. It worked for about 45 minutes until I burnt a hole in my jeans and scorched my leg. It woke me up for the rest of the drive. I highly recommend this.

  10. tiff

    Oh man..unfortunatley 4 1/2 is more than 4 years away (I had my baby 11 days after your little Hank arrived!). But if it goes that smoothly, it will totally be worth the wait.

  11. Amy D.

    You still got it, Maggie (not that we ever doubted you). Crack me up! As does Alice, always.

    I hate driving so much anymore that I stay awake out of pure road rage annoyance, even if there’s noone else on the road. Just annoyed to be driving, period. Wow, I’m cranky, heehee.

  12. Tired but happy

    About staying awake while driving: I find singing along to full-blast bad eighties music does the trick. There is a lot of bad eighties music that I now hate but cannot forget the words to (George Michael, Debbie Gibson, it gets worse but I’ll stop here).

    About Four and a Half: Thanks for the ray of hope. When I go home in a little while and Three and A Bit is there in all his screaming, toy-throwing, parent-torturing glory, I will know that a loving and rational (but manipulative) child is hiding somewhere inside him and all I have to do is wait for that child to appear.

  13. Kait

    Interesting theory about the hair in the window. I usually roll down the window (for the cold air) to help me wake up, and I listen to really loud music.

  14. Auntie Yolanda

    Gee, the last twenty years might have been very different if I had know about the hair-in-the-window trick. I wonder if it works for black outs?

  15. seejanemom

    In my new book– Six Degrees of Childrearing–I note that THAT very hair trick works as an improvised booster seat/child restraint for Four and a Half. But only when Mommy is juicing on a Grande (black) after a lOooong night up with newborn #2.

    Not that I would know AAAANYthing about that.

    Just sayin’…

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