When terror meets terroir

How do you sleep at night?This much we know: a somnambulist, conventionally speaking, is a sleepwalker under the control of another for what are usually nefarious purposes (see the murderous title character of “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”). A sonombulist is the same as above, who lives in Sonoma. Often spied wanly wafting through cocktail parties or just as likely between taverns, the sonombulists come in every shade and hue of the social spectrum with concentrations toward the topper-most of the popper-most and the nethermost of the whatever-most.

If you’ve ever been at a function and suddenly snapped- to ask yourself, “How in the world did I end up here?” you may be a sonombulist. At this juncture, I advise that you put down your drink and call Vern’s Taxi (or, “for a good time” as it says on the paper’s restroom wall “call Lenny”). Sonombulism is not merely the result of over-imbibing, however, to many it’s considered a state of mind – or lack thereof depending on how catty one’s feeling. This is not meant as an insult – some of my best friends are sonombulists, which is why I’m always skulking around their parties.

The signs: If you’re hosting a shindig and you find yourself asking “How in the world did Daedalus Howell end up here?” you’re probably a sonombulist. If you’re hosting a party and know how in the world I’ve ended up there, you’re likely my puppet master and I’m you’re sonombulist. If you’re not a sonombulist but received a call inquiring “where’s the good time?” you’re probably Lenny.

My gang (a loose collective colloquially known as “the cooperative,” later shortened to “coop” and misspelled recently as “coup” in some watchdog blog rife with spurious conjecture about our intentions) worried we might have drifted into early onset sonombulism when we tailgated the Blessing of the Olives at the Mission a few weeks back. Mimosas in hand, we loitered at the landmark in an attempt to jumpstart our holiday spirit only to realize what cads we had become. We should have brought mimosas for everybody. Sonombulists often forget the needs of others.
The moment was sobering , but that was soon remedied by a visit from Gloria Ferrer.

Outbreaks of sonombulism, of course, run high during the holiday season and have for decades. I met a chap recently who recounted how his parents had attended a sonombulist party in the ’70s and were asked to put their keys in a bowl upon entering. I suppose this was an effort to put the X back in X-mas as much as it was an attempt to curtail drunk driving. Since hearing the tale, my pal openly frets issues of paternity.

“Listen, Lenny,” I say, trying to sooth his jangling nerves, “it’s not how you started but that you started. The rest is up to you, man. You can be anything you want to be.”

“Even a sonombulist?”

“Why, yes, Lenny, even a sonombulist. Now, let’s finish these mimosas before everyone else wants one.”


At night, as sleep drifts in and dreams beckon just beyond her pale veil, I sometimes spy the face of the lunatic who lurks within me, the nocturnal whisperer who encumbers my slumber with the simple command: “Dance, dance, dance!”

Yeah. I’m probably a sonombulist.

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