I have always been an anxious sleeper – I have trouble falling asleep due to worry that I will do something stupid or dangerous while in La La Land. Of course my fear is irrational as I am a very, very sound sleeper.
Tim Chaisson: When I was a teenager, my friends, cousins and I would take quick weekend trips to the Magdalen Islands (a little island part of Quebec – about a 5 hour ferry ride from my hometown of Souris, PEI). It’s beautiful there, full of extremely laid back French people and they’re always up for a good time.
TEM: Ah, French people.
TC: One weekend in mid August, we hopped on the ferry at 2am Saturday morning, spent the majority of the trip at the bar and landed on the island around 7am Saturday morning. It was a beautiful day and we knew we were only going to be there for 24 hours so sleeping was not an option.
TEM: Sleeping is overrated, anyways
TC: We decided to take in the very popular Magdalen Island Sandcastle Festival because the sandcastles are amazing, there’s about 10,000 people on the beach, music is going and everyone’s having a good time. We met tons of cool locals and tourists and all made fools of ourselves trying to fit the culture by attempting our rusty grade school French. When the sun went down, we decided to keep the party going at this super cool, artsy bar that had an amazing French band rocking everyone’s socks off. By the time 4am rolls around, my brother and a few friends and I decide to call it a night because our plan was to catch the 7am ferry back to PEI.
TEM: Was sleeping still “not an option” at this point?
TC: We had three hours to sleep (which we did on the grass outside the bar) and then it was time to start the trek back to the boat. I remember putting my sleeping back down on the damp grass and shutting my eyes. I was looking forward to a long overdue few hours sleep. Here comes the funny part…
TEM: This whole situation already seems pretty funny to me… but, go on!
TC: Subconsciously thinking it was 6am and I’m still on my sleeping back on the grass, I wake up… My eyes barely open and I soon realize I’m not where I thought I was – in fact, I have no idea where I am. My heart sinks because as I become aware of my surroundings – I’m laying on a couch in what looks like a lounge room with a TV, coffee table and a couple of magazines. I look at my watch and it says 11am… The boat left at 7am! I immediately get up, walk down a long hallway which had doors on each side with numbers on them. I didn’t have a clue where I was and stumbled upon a staircase that lead me down to a door. I opened the door and there I was on the patio of the bar/restaurant we had partied at the night before. The waitress (who was serving us the night before) shook her head at me and murmured something in French under her breath… I told her I had no idea how I got up there because I remember falling asleep outside with my brother and a few other friends. She kind of just rolled her eyes and kept serving her customers. I looked over to where I fell asleep and saw two of my buddies still asleep on the grass – so I thought to myself ‘ok, everything’s fine – we must have just decided to catch the next boat’… But when I got over to them, they were like, ‘Tim, where did you go this morning?’… I had no other explanation except for ‘I think I slept walked!’ I was feeling pretty confused at this point because even though we were at this bar the entire night prior, I had no idea there were hotel rooms upstairs if you open the back door of the hotel.
TEM: Yikes, that’s crazy! You don’t really think about how dangerous sleepwalking can be. Were all of your friends there on the grass?
TC: About 30 minutes pass, my brother and best friend pull up in a car freaking out… ‘Tim, where were you? We convinced a stranger to drive around this entire island all morning looking for you! The search is on the radio, the captain announced you missing on the boat and everyone is praying for you back home in church!’ I was speechless because I still didn’t know what was going on or how someone didn’t see me walk in the back door of the hotel. My brother proceeded to tell me that when we woke up together, I just started walking away. He thought I was going to pee somewhere and that I’d be right back but what I really did was walk around the building, open the back door and up a flight of stairs that none of my crew knew existed. Also, this island is known for its super steep cliffs and people have died walking off of them before (by accident) in the dark. My family (knowing that I’ve slept walked before in the past) thought that’s what happened and were prepared for some bad news. Little did they know, my sleepy self was in lala land – lying on a nice warm couch in a lounge room of a hotel for 7 hours after a long, hard weekend of having fun.
TEM: Oh man…
TC: The next day was pretty awful because the next boat didn’t leave until 9pm that night back to PEI… The owner of the bar made it known to me outside that he was very disappointed because first, a bunch of teenagers slept outside his bar on the grass and second, one of them broke into his hotel! I tried to explain the story but he wasn’t having it.
TEM: He probably thought you were making up the whole sleepwalking thing.
TC: Also, because I come from such a small town and was 18 at the time, everyone knew about it. The most common feedback I received was,“oh ya, you slept walked eh? Heard that one before!” But I can honestly say (and I have proof) that I did sleep walk. A weekend trip I’ll never forget.
TEM: Haha, the perks of living in a small town! Did you ever go back to the island after this weekend? If so, did you run into that bar owner again?
TC: I did go back once more but I didn’t return to that particular bar just incase I did run into the owner or the waitress. It was pretty embarrassing.
TEM: In the end, was the trip worth it?
TC: Totally. We had so much fun leading up to the sleepwalking event and we’ll have a laugh every once in a while about the whole situation.
TEM: Have you gone to see someone about the sleepwalking? I’ve heard some crazy stories; it can be pretty dangerous!
TC: I never did. I thought about it because when I returned home (a few weeks later) I woke up standing at the bedroom door with my hand on the doorknob. It took me a few seconds to realize what I was doing then I just went back to bed. I wake up pretty regularly thinking I have to be somewhere or thinking I’m late for something then realize I still have a few hours of sleep to go. Maybe I should get help!
TEM: Do you have any other funny/scary/interesting sleepwalking stories?
TC: Nothing too serious but my girlfriend is constantly telling me stories of what I did or said in my sleep. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning with my head at the foot of the bed haha.
TEM: If you could get away with one thing, and blame it on sleepwalking, what would you do?
TC: That makes me think of so many things… I don’t think I can even pick one.
TEM: Fair enough! Finally, what’s the TRUTH about Tim Chaisson? (you can say anything you want here!)
TC: Hmm… Well, I try being positive and optimistic about whatever life throws at me. I’m thankful for what I have, just living life and taking ‘er all in.
Interview and Intro by: Alex Knoll