Oh Say Can You Sleep January 24, 2012Posted by Mark Folse in cryptic envelopment, New Orleans, Toulouse Street.
Tags: insomnia, morning, sleep
Four. Thirty. Seven. The dim green numerals are relentless. I stare at them in the dark until seven becomes eight, then nine. I think about lighting a cigarette and my brain starts to make its ascent up the crackity ratcheting track of another Wild Maus morning. Soon schedules, worries, forgotten responsibilities, ideas, doubts, excitements will start whirring past, jumping from one to the next, each sharp turn punctuated by that moment when the inside wheels feel like they are leaving the tracks. Coffee is never a good idea when your mind works this way, especially at fuck:dawn-thirty. Coffee it is then, starting with warming yesterday’s dregs in the microwave while measuring and pouring.
I went to sleep last night around 9:30, practically passed out really and that’s the last time I remember seeing on the clock. I was about to do the same at 8:30 but the phone chimed and instead of ignoring it (I’m almost asleep, aren’t I?) I check it. The cable is out in the front room of the house. Just the front room? Yes. Call Cox, I finally answer and they’ll reset the box. I put down the phone and start to roll over but after a moment reach for the lamp next to my bed and pick up my book instead. Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, a bit of light reading I must prop on a small pillow on my chest to keep it at eye level. School has started and if I’m going to read the books of my choosing I have to grab some time when I can.
I am up at just before five because my diurnal rhythms are not. There is a clock in my body that is relentlessly, rigorously Swiss, dutifully waking me six or seven hours after I go to sleep. Lately I wonder if it has something to do with the racetrack, the proximity to an entire community of handlers, trainers and jockeys who are up by four at the latest. No matter how tight I twist the mini-blinds, by five there is a bar on my far wall from their glaring halogen morning. In reality I have been well trained by dogs and children to rise up much to early, compounded by a mind that blasts into alertness like the arc of some great spark, the monster groaning into life. If my children can mange on a teenager’s habitual five hours a night, who am I to complain about six or seven on a good night? The difference is they make up their sleep deficit when they can, lying in until noon on the weekend or collapsing for a nap, get up week days like a bucket of gravel groaning under the arm of a crane. I wake up quickly almost every day, by fits and starts like an old fluorescent tube, buzzing and flickering into a relentless and unnatural light.
Morning. Again. Not light out yet but approaching astronomical twilight, that dim glimmer of the sun that sent Galileo and all his descendents not to sleep but to lay awake excitedly pondering the relentless clockwork of the stars. An hour west from now a bleary graduate student will push the button that closes the telescope doors. He will drag himself sleepily toward his car and bed. I will step outside for a cigarette and watch the stars blink out one-by-one.