Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"You Know I Can't Sleep, I Can't Stop My Brain"

Interesting night last night.

Turned the light out at 11:30, somewhat reluctantly because I was really close to the end of a fine book – Maggie O’Farrell’s The Hand That First Held Mine – and soon thereafter was sound asleep.

At 1:55 (thank you, digital clocks, for letting us know to the minute how much time we are spending awake), for no discernible reason, I woke up.

At about 2:10 I heard a weird noise from outside. At first I wasn’t sure I was hearing a real noise or just imagining one…and if it was a real noise, whether or not it was my breathing (since my pneumonia a couple of years ago, I am wheezier than I was and sometimes think to myself “Listen to those birds chirping” only to realize that it is actually my lungs chirping*) or the cat’s breathing or perhaps Mr. Pointy Sticks breathing. (One time, when we were living in the row house downtown, I woke up to hear what sounded like someone very carefully chiseling away masonry…say, the wall of our house. It was a semi-metallic sort of “dink…dink…dink.” I listened and listened and worked myself up into a tenser and tenser little knot of nerves…and then I sat up and leaned over to wake Mr. Pointy Sticks up…and realized it was his breathing. Somehow he was making this very odd “dink”-ing sound with his nose.) Anyway, I thought I heard this odd sort of strangled bark…thought perhaps I was imagining it until I noticed that Duncan had woken and was very intent, with pointy ears and big eyes…so he obviously heard it too. I heard it a few more times and then a time or two further off. I have no idea what it was. I wondered if it might have been a fox. Though I think of their bark being yippier, I’ve never actually heard one, so what do I know?

From then until about 2:23 I just lay in bed waiting to fall back to sleep, thinking about the book. Man, Maggie O’Farrell really nails the sense of surreal exhaustion one is subject to in the months following the birth of a baby.

From 2:24 until 2:53, I thought about words…specifically, trying to decide what I thought the most beautiful words in the English language were. Came up with “twilight” (though the word is slightly tainted by the idiotic book of that title) and “lullaby.”

From 2:54 until 3:15 or so, my mind wandered more and I played the alphabet game to myself using flowers as the subject (“A is for anemone, B is for begonia, C is for chrysanthemum…”). Added “wisteria” to my list of beautiful words.

From 3:15 to 3:25…suddenly realized that I had wandered from thinking about flowers to thinking about dogs to thinking about Cujo…the Stephen King novel. Not something you really want to think about in the wee small hours.

From 3:25 until 3:53, I turned on the light and finished the Maggie O’Farrell book. Very good book. It’s getting a star in my list of “books read” that I keep. Turned the light out again.

From 3:54 until 5:30 I flopped around, throwing the covers off and pulling them up as I alternated being hot and then cold and then hot. Realized I had a splitting sinus headache and contemplated getting up to take some aspirin but couldn’t be bothered. Added “murmur” to my list of beautiful words. Tried to make a sentence using all four words….”The breeze at twilight murmured a lullaby as it blew through the wisteria.” Decided that throwing beautiful words into a sentence does not automatically make a beautiful sentence. Played the alphabet game with fruits and vegetables (“A is for apricot, B is for blueberry, C is for cherry…”). Debated whether or not I should go to work. ( On the side of staying home, I could sleep. But sleeping all morning would probably just screw up my sleep schedule more. On the side of going to work, I’d save eight hours leave. On the side of staying home, I didn’t know how productive I was going to be on 2 hours sleep. On the side of going to work, it is a sort of quiet week, so my sleep-deprived brain might not be called on too heavily. I ended up going in.) Bothered the cat…hey, he bothers me when I’m sleeping. Turnabout is fair play. Worried about this dull aching pain that was developing between my shoulder blades and wondered if it might be early signs of a heart attack. Discovered that my pajama top was twisted in a tight little knot between my shoulder blades. Untangled my pajama top and discovered that the ache magically vanished. Played the alphabet game with dogs (“A is for afghan, B is for basset, C is for corgi…”).

At 5:30 I greeted Mr. Pointy Sticks, who was coming out of the shower, with “I’ve been awake since 2 a.m.!” And shortly thereafter, staggered into the shower, into some clothes and off to work.

So…what words do you think are beautiful?


*** And to any medically inclined relative reading lungs don't wheeze all the time. In fact, it's rare now that they make much noise. Every now and then, if I get conjested, they might start acting up.


Life's a Stitch said...

3:13 a.m. Reading blogs ;-)

Oh, Brother said...

Welcome to Insomnia! No passports or visas required!

ml said...

I'll try again, although these days your blog has rejected my comments, to assert my opinion that, of course, the most beautiful word in English is--coincidentally? or not?--another allusion to twilight: "crepuscular." Or perhaps the word "lilac."

Rooie said...

One reason you may feel that the blog is rejecting you, ML, is that I have enabled moderation (I get a surprising (to me) amount of spam...almost all comments to a post I made more than a year ago). So I get the comments as emails and then okay them for publication...and you're always okayed. Well, unless you start trying to sell me pharmaceuticals.