Monday 2 July 2007

ode to insomnia


He's in bed. There's not much more he can do; he's been yawning and stretching. He definitely wants to be here. It's relatively comfortable too. No muscles needed at least. It's quiet. The only way he knows it's quiet is by the noises that stick out. The washing machine. The faint humm of... well, something electrical anyway. Every now and again the fridge deciding it's not quite cold enough. For the exposed limbs it is! One leg under covers, one out. It doesn't work like that of course - he now has one leg too cold and one too hot. But that's the only thing possible - an attempt to achieve balance. He's tired. His back aches. Not pain, an ache. Like the vertebrae know they should be somewhere else and aren't.

Curiously it's not really dark. The noises accentuate the silence but that fucking smoke detector just makes it light. How can you be expected to sleep with a light shining in your eyes? It's not possible. It's just a tiny little light though. And that would probably be ok; he can sleep in semi-lit environments. No, the real trouble is that every twelve seconds (or some equally stupid interval) there's a blink of the red light. Just to let him know he's protected. The smoke alarm is still there. Fire wouldn't wake him but that little red light will stop him from sleeping.

Time doesn't really move right now. If there were a clock he'd hear it tick but there isn't. There are just Moments. Each Moment starts with a thought: I'll never get to sleep. I'll be awake til morning. It lasts Forever - or at least it seems that way. After an insufferable eternity, a time of pure impatience, the Moment ends. A tick, maybe, of that non-existent clock, or a blink of the god-damned smoke detector or some other change in the environment. Another Moment begins.

"I'll never get to sleep if I keep thinking like this", he thinks. So he changes. He focuses on pretending to sleep. No more Moments. Now there's just heavy, slow breathing. Eyes are closed, ignoring the need to watch that bloody blinking. The ache is still there, but it's comforting now - it seems to squirm. He knows that in a little while it'll get used to the stillness and settle down as discomfort. Like a sat-upon leg or a fallen-asleep-on arm the discomfort will be somehow comforting. A reminder that everything is as it should be. His mind is empty now. Sleep should be spreading over him like light at dawn.


Into the empty mind sidles a thought: boy this is taking a while. Fucking brain, just shut up for a bit. But isn't it interesting how thoughts just occur without impetus. And how you try to sleep and can't. I bet other people would love to hear about it - perhaps I should write this all down at let others know! I wonder how long this takes? How long has it been since this started? Since I dropped into bed.

He can't do it. Just a quick glance. Eyes screw up for a moment, the last protest of his brain. Then he rolls over, grabs his watch and has a look. Five minutes. Five stinking minutes? It's been at least an hour! More! I'll check my phone, maybe that has the right time. It's out of batteries.

At this point in reality he gets up and blogs. Because there's no way sleep will ever get a word in edgeways here. It's not that he won't give sleep a chance, it's that his mind is still active. All it's done today is make losing strategies for Age of Empires. But it can't provide dreams. It can't let him drift off to the clouds and give him thoughts of chases and murders, protections and loves, of all those imagined worlds that exist when you sleep. They're pretty complicated, and he often dreams things which are difficult ides. Not just that, the mind will develop concepts in detail - design and construction for the impossible machines, biology for the impossible beasts, reasoning for the impossible narratives. The Mind, rather. So having discharged his responsibility to show the rest of the world just how thoughtful he is, he goes to bed again. He knows he'll sleep at some stage. Everyone does. There's a time they stop thinking and sleep embraces them and there's nothing until groggy eyes and daylight sneaking under the curtain.

The mattress is soft. His sleeping bag has a strange smell - it should be aired tomorrow. I need a tissue. Why does the fucker need to blink?

He lies awake.


fitzy said...

I wouldn't call that crappy.

Anonymous said...

Me neither.