I was out to dinner and had a glass of tequila but I would have rather been drinking mezcal. Something with a story to it. Caught up in the lime lights of my glass, all my friends talking, and I didn’t want to hear any of it.
I’ve been trying to reset my schedule. I’ve been waking up earlier, pushing back the hours. Bedtime, though, isn’t budging. I get under the covers at 9:30 and I’m restless, or something comes up. Last night I dreamed about college. Old as I am now and back in it, taking chemistry classes, skipping all the lectures, worried I’ll fail the tests. A classic dream. Driving back from the restaurant, my friend said he’d also had it. We were in the same classroom, I guess. We’d had the same pressures. Closer in those dream-time labs than reality.
It’s a cold night. Maybe I’ll feel better once I find the covers.
I sat all day in a stupor like a brown cat curled up, or a cooked shrimp, head and legs missing, a pink glaze, dreamy.
I know why I’m tired:
Last night, L was over, and he’d been having a rough week at work so we stayed out until midnight, eyes pried off the covers, pretending to be real people doing real things, but other people than the ones we usually are. By the time he’d gone and I’d gotten my head fitted to the pillow, it was closing on 1 am. I’m almost 30 – my body doesn’t do well with late nights anymore.
But there’s also the Lexapro – I’ve been taking it in the evenings because it makes me drowsy, but the drowsy hangs over in the morning. I wear it. The drug doesn’t have me in hot sweats like the bupropion but I can’t tell yet if the fatigue is worth it. Everyday becomes a Monday, sludgy, a heavy backpack, the ominous dinging of a new work-week. Maybe I’ll get used to it. Always optimistic.
Right now, the sky’s chicken-vein blue. There’s a full moon, or close to it. A good time to go to sleep.
A city is only as good as its midnight skyline. Low or high, skyscrapers or endless avenues of two-story stores, the lights at night are proof of something: that it’s worth more to the people here to risk all the dangers of darkness for a few extra seconds of knowing than to sleep soundly on the ground as they were born to do. Whether by fire, wax, or LCD silver, human is the only animal that won’t settle for the setting sun.
I was up at 3am for half an hour. My head was fuzzed with dreams. I walked to the kitchen to pour a glass of water. While I was there, I looked the window. Three streetlights had an angle on the glass. The bridge across the creek was lit, and our sister building had that glow of walkway illumination, crisp and militant. It was no surprise to see so many lights on but it took me by one anyway.
I like the idea of beating back darkness. I like the idea of getting lost in it, too. There’s a surreptitiousness to pulling your curtains on a well-lit city. The world goes on without you in it. Grocery store clerks at the 24hr; midnight highway technicians; someone’s making love in the alley behind your favorite coffee shop; old men die like great trees falling, with or without anyone to watch.
Having peeked out at the ongoing bristling of 3am, I closed the bedroom door and drew the curtains, pulled a comforter up to my nose, and tried to hide from the long city fingers for the bleak back end of night.
I talked to a lawyer about taxes. Not my taxes and not his either. He doesn’t do tax law. But somehow we got on the subject and were talking for over an hour. We also talked about computer architecture and teenager’s cell phones. I feel best after long conversations with people I don’t know. It was an interesting day.
A friend told me about his sleep studies. They smacked him with Apnea and a few other things. My father had Apnea also and I remember him wearing a face mask. My friend calls it a face-hugger. Alien, anyone? Anyway, there were these nights when I was little and scared where my bedroom would fill up with night terrors. I’d go into my parents’ room. They’d let me sleep beside them as parents do. Some nights, I’d sleep beside my father while he used the face mask. It sounded like an ocean. With boats. And crabs. And a few storms.
Right now, I’ve got the wok cooking veggies while the rice finishes. I added soy sauce and vinegar and oil. The oil’s bubbling. It sounds like red wine. I’m not having any wine because it’s a weekday but I can imagine. A spring day. Wildflowers. Sweet dreams.
Novel Count: 30,349
Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED!
The clouds looked like down caught in the lint trap. A little dirty, but you know they’ll be soft. A cold, remorseful sky. The trees have already started blooming flowers.
I went to The Remedy diner in Raleigh as a belated Christmas present to my mother. She’s been vegetarian my whole life and I wanted to buy her an impossible burger. The restaurant is one of those places that’s right on the verge of trying too hard to impress you with it’s apathy. The art’s all edgy and every third waitress has a bull-ring. But the food was good and everyone was nice enough. It was a fine afternoon.
And now it’s nighttime. I’ve been getting into this routine where I’m afraid to go to sleep. Once or twice a week, I’ll wake up after a couple hours in a hot panic – heart racing, head throbbing, a pudding of sweat – and then I’ll sit in that directionless terror for a while before finally falling back to sleep. I’m not sure what’s causing it. I’ve tried monitoring my diet, sticking to an exercise routine, but I can’t find a connection. And so the midnight terror has sprinkled outward like a lawn hose and I’m strung out for a few hours before bed.
But it’s not all bad. I listen to music. I talk to friends. I might wake up wasted but I’m getting extra time in the evenings. The great trick to life is to realize that nothing bad is so bad as to damn you, or if it that you probably won’t last long enough to realize it.
I’ve got a youtube channel playing calming rain sounds. I might make some tea. See you on the other side.
Novel Count: 23,209
Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami
Most of my life I’ve been a morning person. You couldn’t get me to sleep as a kid. I’d wake up early and want the whole world served to me like toast and butter. I’ve got vivid memories of naptime – no sleeping, just a rouge room colored by the not-quite-thick-enough curtains, rolling around restless in a crib, reading pictures books over and over with photos of old ladies or elephants and little bumps or dawdles to scratch your fingers on.
I’m still an early riser, though it doesn’t come as easy.
But there was one year when everything changed. I was 20/21. She was 21/22. She was going to school in Charlotte and I didn’t have a car so I took trains to see her. I’d stay down most weekends, even longer in the summer, and I don’t know if it was the travel, the air pollution, something in the water but I stopped falling asleep or getting up early. I’d be up until 3am. We’d get out of bed past noon. Most nights, she’d be out before me so I’d stay up watching things – half my attention to the miasma of whatever-was-on-the-TV, half to her closed-off face. She had this look like she was perpetually going away from something.
That’s when I learned that you can let people change you. And sometimes, afterward, you can change yourself back.
Novel Count: 8,980 words
Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker
I don’t remember when the insomnia started. Years, at least. I can’t fall asleep, can’t stay asleep, don’t sleep well. I used to pass the box for The Machinist in a movie rental back in High School. I never picked it up but Christian Bale looked like death and horror on the cover so I read the box: “Man suffers debilitating insomnia…” Anyway, the image stuck with me.
Other oddities of getting old: I can’t really smell anymore. Flowers, sure; piss, sure; something weaker, not so much. I also can’t quite hear because my ears are always stuffed. And speaking of stuffy, I don’t remember what it feels like to have two clean nostrils. In fact, the left channel is frozen over like an English winter. Maybe that says something to the smelling.
Life fills you up to spilling with humors, bile, juices. They become blood brothers. You can’t think to leave them. Maybe they chase out dreams, diminish anticipation, but the dull numb throbbing is something you welcomed, something you wanted, an amorphous scuttle stuck into you to keep the daily doldrums from spilling out.
Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker