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It matters not what time I doze off, or deliberately turn off the lights and drift off to dreamland. Invariably, I wake with precision at 3:11 in the morning, and then watch one clock tick tock, in a digital way until it is 3:33. Close enough to pi, for a mathematician's daughter. I've had sleep studies done, tried sleeping pills, unplugged another clock, and turned down the thermostat in winter, to no avail. I have special sleep pillows, soft sheets, the proper number of blankets, and a firm mattress. I've read books about sleep. People who love me give me CD's to Sleep By, but it is a rare night that I do not see 3:11, technically in the morning.

So, I walk about the house, or go outside on starry nights. 3:11 is perfect for that, so quiet and still, most of the time. Bonus if the moon is caught in the maple tree, and I need wood for the wood stove. The cats, flopped about or curled together, could care less what time it is, even if I whisper, "It's 3:11 in the morning and it started snowing again." I have tried this in all seasons; they don't even peek one sleepy yellow or green eyed look, cats being the ultimate careless pets. Last night, the temperature outside fell to 27 degrees, and the trains are back on schedule.

When I awoke, dreaming about three people eating cereal, the clock behind them said, "It's 3:11 in the morning..." and I rushed downstairs because I thought it started snowing again. Some Christmas lights were in the distance, a window or two was lit, but mostly it was dark, so I stood looking up, waiting for the meteor shower to cleanse this 3:11 disorder. That wasn't the solution so I walked back inside, shivering, past cars in the sleeping driveway, laced with fractal frost.

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