I had the clearest experience I have possibly ever had of the phases of sleep last night. First the long, long lying in the dard in the hopes that sleep will overtake me. Then, after a million years in sleepless halflight, the delicate fuzz of the first stage, the stage that goes away if you move too quickly or breathe wrong, washes over me. Then the deeper state, the brief state of paralysis that hits right before true sleep.

It was close to dawn when I hit that stage. I was staying at my friend's place in Santa Barbara, in his room, alone. My eyes were closed but I could see through the lids in the dim light. Things were in a kind of pixel vision, the pixels being nonstandard sizes and shapes. The hallucinations were very unpleasant, with the colors melting and a set of tactile hallucinations that I can't describe right now accompanying them. I couldn't move at all, which was the weird thing. I knew someone else was in the room, and despite being really tired from stress and insomnia, and very frightened for some reason, I couldn't blink or shake myself awake (and these are normally things I have no trouble doing). I tried to scream and found that my vocal folds were paralyzed, too. I could not move at all. I had no fear that this was a permanent state, just that this person in the room would try to hurt me or something and I wouldn't be able to move at all. I have no idea how long this went on, but eventually I fell into deep sleep and woke up normally the next morning.

I asked my friend if he or anyone else had been in his room around dawn that morning, and he told me that there had been no one. Also, the idea that someone living in that house would hurt me or mess with me while I was sleeping is totally ridiculous, even if they had been in the room, so I'm chalking this up to sleep paralysis, or maybe bad nachos.