Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Quietly sitting

I've been having some trouble sleeping lately.

It's a difficult thing, insomnia. With many difficulties of a physiological nature, there's something you can do. Even if it's nothing more than kick back in bed and drink lots of fluids, there's some way you can feel like you're making progress against whatever's wrong. Not so with an inability to sleep. You can either stay up and spend the night in bleary-eyed boredom, or try to sleep and spend the night tossing and turning in a haze that's somewhere on the borderland between racing thought and bizarre dreams.

There's no such thing as trying hard to sleep. It's not like being unable to lift something; you can't simply grit your teeth, clench your diaphragm, and heave, hernia be damned. You can't try to sleep when sleep is elusive. You can only wait for it to come to you.

There is a trick to it, sure. Many people have picked it up: military men and sailors, actors, doctors, and all manner of folks who are on call or get little time for rest. It's something you learn through necessity; those people need to sleep whenever they can get it. When you get by day after day on too little sleep, on the other hand, you're still getting by. There's no incentive, no urgency. You never learn the trick.

At any rate, that's what I'm doing: sitting here, getting by. Until my current wretched run of luck is over and I land a job - any job - I don't need to be up too early, mornings, so it's not killing me. I sleep in a little, once I finally do nod off, and nap a little; for some reason sleep seems to come just fine when it's not really appropriate. It's like a cat, purring and rubbing at your legs all evening and then darting away and hiding beneath the couch when you reach down to pick it up, only to come out and pounce on you later when you're distracted and have other things to be attending to.

Hrmph. Cats. A proper pet comes when it's called, I tell you.

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