How often have you woken up and realized that you’re laying on someone else’s arm? And then you try to push yourself off (while thinking, wait – was I sleeping with anyone?) and your heart starts beating faster because you realize you can’t push yourself up.
So, you bring your right arm around and roll yourself over to your back. And then you FREAK OUT because you suddenly know that SOMEONE CUT OFF YOUR LEFT ARM! Or maybe the boogey man IS real and he ripped your arm off. Or maybe, as a poor grad student, you actually went through with that joke of selling your body parts on the black market.
But you know your arm is gone because not matter how many times your brain tells your arm to move, NOTHING happens.
And so, scared of what you’ll discover, you slowly reach over and grab the arm that’s lying next to you. Your stomach churns, because whoever took your arm left the arm of some corpse lying in your bed. You grab the wrist and pick it up (hoping beyond hope that you’ll feel something in your own left arm when your right one grabs the phantom limb—but you don’t) and now you just want to cry, because you’re holding a severed arm that falls limply to the bed when you let it go…all the while having no idea where your own arm is.
And then, in your hysteria, you roll over to get out of bed and run screaming through the hall, when you realize that the corpse-appendage has somehow been sadistically attached to your body! And it’s following you no matter where you go!
But after about a minute of running around in tear-filled circles, something happens: someone has put your arm back on – but they’re pouring hot water over it and stabbing it with twenty thousand hot needles. And you look closely for the stitches, but then, huh – you see that this IS your own arm.
Then, where was it before?
And you stop running in circles – and finally the rational part of your brain decides to wake up. Your arm is there. You had just been laying on it. It was asleep. or, beyond asleep actually. Phew. Crisis averted.
And then you look around to make sure no one saw your hysterical break down of panic. The clock tells you it’s only 2:47am – YES! You get to go back to sleep. You crawl back into bed, pull the covers up, and then, it’s almost like instinct, you roll over…onto your left arm.