Friday, February 20, 2009

Post Insomnia Posting

I didn't get a post up at all yesterday. I hadn't slept well, even after a hard day Wednesday, and I got called to do a night shift last night. So I spent the middle of yesterday dozing, and trying to catch up on rest. I used to enjoy the night shifts, especially once the faculty had all left and I had the plant to myself. I could drone on in the dark, and quiet, attending to the simple tasks at hand, and have my mind free to wander where it would. But the body at fifty six commands a greater portion of that brain space, and what's left doesn't wander so much as it strays into bad neighborhoods, and picks fights with some of the more unsavory inhabitants.

And I didn't sleep again last night, and I'll probably have another night shift tonight.

I'd still be in bed right now, except that pudgy old Booger the Cat will not tolerate me lying abed while Mary is up and about. She jumps up on the bed, starts at my ankles, marches up to my chest, and sticks her cold, wet nose in my face, all the while making soft, but very concerned mewls, and chirps, and cries. Some cats seem to form a consonant when they mew. With most, it's sort of an "M". Booger the Cat pronounces a distinct "W": 'weeerng, weeerng'. Sometimes I'll get a couple gentle swats in the face. If I open my eyes, and say "g'morning Boogies" she sits in the middle of my chest and just purrs until I get up. All very cute, and endearing and all, but sometimes I'd just rather sleep.

In a way too, I'm taking a step back here, and reconsidering the direction that the wfb seems to have taken. I wanted to keep things light, and amusing, leave metaphysics to those with a better feel for it, and avoid serious topics altogether. That was the plan anyway, insofar as I had a plan at all. But the last two posts just sort of came out of nowhere, and I hit the 'publish post' button despite having some serious reservations about doing so.

Maybe it comes back to the whole synchronicity thing. Years back, one of my mentors, artist Janet Church, used to encourage me to write. It was Janet Church who introduced me to my wife, Mary. I was not interested in writing. I'd had my fill of it in school, and I saw more of it than I cared to see at work. It was more satisfying to draw, or carve. I would drop by her frame shop and gallery, and she'd tell me, "Go away, I'm too busy to talk right now." That would usually be the opening volley in a long discussion about art, beauty, and matters of the spirit. Janet would taunt me occasionally about not believing in God. "I do believe in God, Janet." I'd insist. "Sort of. I just don't like the religion thing." Sometimes I'd toss an observation off the top of my head, and she'd insist on pausing the discussion to write it down. She used to say that someday I would start writing. "You should write," she'd admonish me. And it would seem that that's what I'm doing right now. But Janet's at Rose Hills, in a plot that commands a view all the way to the towers of Los Angeles. I bet she would have had a blast in the coonosphere.

Anyway. I'm pecking away at a review of disc number two from Will's two record set. Sometime in the not too distant future I'll have it on line. And that's about all I got for now.
A later on in the afternoon update:
So this is how it goes. I caught a few Z's, and had Mary wake me up an hour before the night shift starts. I re-heated some coffee, which sort of brought the nervous system back on line, and waited to hear if I'd get a call. Yesterday, the boss said I'd probably be on for tonight, but he wasn't sure. I waited, and then figured I'd better play it safe, so I got my keys, flashlight, and gloves, and walked over to the school where the shift would start if the night guy was going to be out. (It's less than a block from the house.) Usually he's there about fifteen minutes before starting time. I was hanging perfectly on the cusp of ambivalence. I really wanted to just kick back, and fart around here at home, but I got enough rest to get me through the shift, and after all, we do need the money.
I waited at the front gate, and just as I abandoned all hope, and resigned myself to the long cold slog, the night guy showed up.
*sigh of relief*
And of course I wasn't but halfway home before I started going, "Damn. Another night and no work." I swear, if my head was somebody else, I'd clobber their ass.



walt said...

(I'm gonna write this real quiet-like, in case you're dozing....)

Just thinking that, even though you're educated and work at a school, you come across like a School of Life sort of person. Thus, what you write seems chock full o lessons learned, or a-learning.

For those of Raccoon-bent, such things are always interesting (your Chuck episode is an example). So I'm going to guess that your readers enjoy your writing.

Which still doesn't address what you want to do, but hey: the audience is a factor. Anyway, you've just begun, so I doubt that any of your readers have tied you down in their thinking quite yet!

Sleep-dep is brutal! Bad for the health, as well.

will said...

Ditto. You got a talent there. Good sense of timing, sense of poetry, drama, humor. It's just plain fun to read. Hope you keep at it.

Speaking of insomnia - I really don't want to sound immodest, but four times in the past decade I have gone five straight days and night without sleep. Once, actually, five days/nights and the morning of a sixth. This was not voluntary, of course.

jwm said...

Thank you, both Walt and Will.
Holy cow, Will. Five days...That's a good definition of hell. The only thing close to that for me was when I quit drinking back in 1990. I had been knocking back about eight tall ones every day after work since fall of '89. Come summer, it was beer for breakfast every day, and all day long. Well, after a cup black coffee, actually, because you don't want to- you know- drink on an empty stomach. This went on all through June and July, and well into August. I was pretty much drunk all summer long, and went on the wagon cold turkey in the middle of August. I remember many miserable nights before I was done with the detoxification. And the worst part of insomnia, is that you can't seem to use the time for anything. If, for example, you could use those sleepless hours working on project, or even reading there would be some small redeeming virtue in it. As it is, all you can do is either lay in bed not sleeping, or sit in a chair not sleeping. Both are about the same amount of nofun.

I remember a penciled graffiti on the railing of the balcony on the fifth floor of the humanities building at Cal State:
These are the worst things in life:
To lie in bed, and sleep not.
To wait for someone who calls not.
To love someone who loves you not.

I would have thrown in motorcycles in the rain, but that's just me.


Robin Starfish said...

...out of nowhere...

back in the classroom
the teacher pushes a broom
soap on the windows

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I cooncur with my fellow Coons, John, your writing is poignant, honest and heartfelt, not to mention heartening. :^)