When you're living in New York City as a narcoleptic you have to understand that there are a couple ground rules that you have to follow. I have only been in the city for two months now and, with a mild form of narcolepsy under my belt, I have already learned the hard way that there are some things that we narcoleptics just cannot get away with.
First and foremost, is the subway. You absolutely cannot ride the subway by yourself for any extended period of time because if you do you might have planned to get off at the Bedford L stop, but accidentally end up in Canarsie stabbed to death.
When you stop moving, you stop functioning, so any rooftop parties you plan on attending where they serve alcohol (aka every roof party ever thrown in the history of man) and feature plush patio furniture to relax on, is game over. There isn't a goddamn thing you can do about it. YOU’RE GOING TO PASS OUT. Roll with it.
When you’re narcoleptic, everything puts you to sleep: sitting down, the pause between terrible conversations at Sunday brunch, alcohol, using the computer, cab rides and especially really boring people. And don’t think about trying to wear expensive clothes out to a party, even if it's a fashion event in the middle of SoHo you sneaked into by co-opting the identity of someone else. On some Murphy's Law shit, the inevitable will happen and you will wake up to find that your beer, that you just fell asleep with in your hand, has condensated in the heat leaving your nicest shirt dyed with a tramp stamp that reads "Yours truly, Mr. Blue Fucking Moon." As Annie, and Shawn Carter, once put it, “It’s a hard knock life for us,” because it “don’t seem like there’s never any light.”
People work better than any drug you can take because good friends aren’t afraid to slap the shit out of you when you doze off.
Now not everything about being a narcoleptic is bad, except never being allowed to scuba dive, which is fucking bullshit despite making perfect sense. There are plenty of things you can do to prevent the unpredictable that will inevitably take place wherever and whenever it so pleases. The biggest trick to not falling asleep is to bring a friend. Yeah, the time tested buddy system. Getting food? Bring a friend. Maybe they'll even pay. Going to a party? Bring a friend. Maybe they'll even do something stupid and you can make fun of them to impress other people. Need to be awake by a certain time in the morning? Get a girlfriend. Maybe she'll even have sexual intercourse with you. People work better than any drug you can take because good friends aren’t afraid to slap the shit out of you when you doze off. It honestly becomes a win-win situation for you and your companion—you get to stay conscious and they have a really great party trick. “Oh yeah, he’s asleep. He’s narcoleptic, so he just falls asleep, but watch this shit [slap].” The next best anti-narcoleptic on the market is simply staying active. When you stop moving, you start sleeping, therefore, you start riding a bike. It’s exercise, builds confidence and opens the whole city to you. AND YOU DON’T FALL ASLEEP ON BIKES BECAUSE THAT'S JUST HOW THE UNIVERSE WORKS.
For me, narcolepsy is like breaking in a pair of raw denim—once you’ve worked it in the right spots, the only thing you can do at the end of the day is wear the shit out of it. And do your best to make a damn good impression while doing so. With a good set of friends who have your back and are cool with you taking the occasional ten minute power-nap on a park bench, you can start focusing on more important issues like how to get that stain out of your shirt.