A yawn, I have learned from a neurologist, starts in the brain. Something somewhere in there is triggered and through a pathway unknown to this plain regular human, it makes you urgently suck in air. You make that yawn “aarrgh” sound, sometimes closing your eyes and your head may sway like a palm tree in the wind as you inhale. Then after getting as much air as possible in your lungs and making a sound that could possibly match a “High C” note of a soprano, we exhale with calmness and a sense of completion. You just can’t get that feeling of accomplishment any cheaper anywhere.
Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to pay strict attention to a conversation. Even if the topic is really interesting. Like space travel. I like listening about space travel. Well, not so much listen to someone go on and on about space travel as much as I like to look at outer space pictures, like the ones taken by the Hubble telescope. Now, if someone were talking about Hubble pictures they were showing about outer space, that would capture my attention. But even when the topic is fun, interesting to you, amusing or important, sometimes a yawn will emerge from somewhere deep inside your brain.
In my family there have been some wonderful yawners. My father could wake up an entire neighborhood with that first ground-quaking yawn in the morning. I’m pretty sure if yawning were an Olympic event he would have won a medal in it.
Sometimes I find myself yawning at the most inappropriate times. You know, when someone is talking to you, usually close and face to face. All of a suddenly you can feel a yawn developing wherever yawns begin developing. You feel it and here it comes, that urge to suck in air through your nose and mouth. Try as you might you just can’t stop it once it makes its way into your consciousness. You might try to stifle it by covering and trying to keep your mouth shut, but that just makes you get all squished face and your lower lip and chin does this trembling like battle with your jaw that really, really wants to fly open and suck in a big gulp of air to complete the yawn. Stifling a yawn is a lost cause at best.
Yawning is contagious, too. There are places you can actually cause a domino effect — if you so desire. Like in church. It’s kind of quiet, warm, close quarters. Now, I know you wouldn’t do this just to see what happens. But we all know someone who would. Starting a yawn fest is an interesting feat of human nature. Unobtrusively but not unnoticed one will yawn with just the right amount of noise to get the attention of a few others. A little stretch and maybe a light body shiver will get it going.
And another will yawn and another then maybe if all goes just right even the guy behind the pulpit will get the urge and do one of the stifled yawns. Please don’t really try this, I don’t need Him mad at me for any reason whatsoever!
Yawns come and go. But sometimes they create what I call a yawn swarm. This happens to me usually in the mornings. I yawn when I get up and find myself yawning over and over again, even though I get enough sleep. Which leads me to believe yawning doesn’t have much to do with being tired. So then why would we yawn? There are more than one scientific reasons touted by professionals who have all those important letters behind their names, like PHD, MD, PASPTTY (Pay Attention Smart Person Talking to You), as to why, whether at an appropriate or inappropriate time, we yawn. Some say it’s a way our bodies try to cool down our brains and some say it’s a way for our brains to wake up the rest of our bodies.
I say we yawn because, if you stop and really think about it, a yawn is kind of fun, it feels pretty good and it’s free with no strings attached! And we all like free with no strings attached!
I think the only thing that might be as good of a feeling or as satisfying as a big ole yawn is a brain-clearing sneeze!
So as you sit there, wherever you are sitting, give yourself the gift of a yawn. Cool down your brain, start a yawn fest. Come on now, tell me — not that you were bored I hope, but you yawned at least once while reading this, didn’t you?
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book Ity Bits is on Kindle. Share with her at email@example.com.