On Music, Sleep, and Access: Slowly Making My Way Back

Feels like I’ve not written in a month, even though I have some entries posted. This is because, for that month, the pandemic and its restrictions had finally flattened me. I’ve not written in my book, which got to over 16,000 words by the way, and was reluctantly dragging myself into work at best. As with all of us I’m sure, it’s been a real struggle with me, living this becalmed existence, but I hope we’re on the backside of this thing finally! Numbers are coming down, now let’s just hold on and try to make it to the other side before we go too crazy.

Anyway, I’m starting to find my way back out of the doldrums, thanks to three things: the gift of music, improved sleep, and the remembrance of love.

First the music, as we all know it can be one of the best forms of therapy. I sort of accidentally came up with the idea a few days ago to listen to every year’s hip hop and R&B and Pop playlists on Apple Music of the 1990s. I’ve only gotten through 1991 and 1990, having started them in the wrong order because initially I’d just wanted to hear songs from 30 years ago, and these tracks both take me back and make me feel a lot better. And the good news, from my perspective, is that I’ve got songs to listen to in this way probably till early April or so, when it will hopefully be warmer and I can get outside for some sun again.

And speaking of sun, sort of, I (or more truthfully my wife) undertook a few steps to try and help me get my sleep back on track. It had gone dangerously off the rails, and especially when trying to get that all-important set-up sleep on Sunday night to prepare for work. First, she got me a My Pillow, that pricey pillow that makes all kinds of promises about its ability to change your sleeping habits and life for good. I broke it in this Friday night, knowing I would have time if I indeed found it harder to sleep instead. And at first I did, because the pillow kid lower than I’ve gotten used to with the two-pillow Elevation I’d had before.

Then Saturday, she’d ordered me some Melatonin gummies. They’re actually pretty good, and you take two of them to get a three-mg dose of that stuff. So I tried those, along with re-elevating that pillow on Saturday night, and I’ve really slept like a baby sense. It’s meant feeling so much Better at work, and slowly but surely getting back to where I feel like doing stuff afterwards too though of course being tired after a long workday is normal anyway. We don’t really know whether the pillow or Melatonin are truly doing the trick, (I joke that this is because our experiment is not enacting one variable at a time) but I don’t really care as long as something works.

She’d gotten me that for Valentine’s Day, having remembered my recent statements about how a lack of sleep was effecting me. I got her flowers from 1-800-flowers.com, mostly as a physical expression of the love I feel. Acquiring them wasn’t a lovely experience at first, as I couldn’t get the site to populate with choices based on my zip code. After fighting with that thing for hours and just about throwing up my hands in frustration, I finally selected the automated SMS feature. It was pretty cool, allowing me to make a series of choices then providing me with a link to pay for the order at the end, similar to what Apple did when I ordered the iPhone. This does not, in my opinion, replace the need to make a site accessible to blind users and really all users, but I guess it’s a fill-in and hope people keep working on longer-term solutions.

And to finish this post with a bonus that is related to said accessibility, because it’s one that had rocked the blindness community and threatened to send us back a ways, I was pleased to discover that Domino’s Pizza finally made its app accessible at least on iOS. It has gone from the least usable app to order pizza and other goods from them to the most usable. I don’t know all of the things that happened behind closed doors to make this possible, but I’m sure it was a big win for our advocates after the big fuss they put up in court wishing to not have to comply, and a reminder to let all of our voices be heard. So that’s a little motivation for me and hopefully for all of us, as we all try our best to survive the grind.

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