Dying Daily Project #4: Insomnia

“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you

Don’t go back to sleep!

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep!

People are going back and forth

across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,

The door is round and open

Don’t go back to sleep!”

-Rumi

It is 3:10 AM as I start this blog.

I go through phases where I wake up in the middle of the night and know immediately that I won’t be going back to sleep. I used to get frustrated with this, but I really don’t anymore. I kind of appreciate the extra hours I can get out of the day, and the middle of the night is its own little world of possibility and solitude.

My general rule is that if I lay awake for 20 minutes I go ahead and get up.

I do different things. I read, I clean up the house. One time I built a bunch of IKEA furniture we had gotten and surprised B in the morning. My friend Matthew works nights so there have been a few times I’ve walked over to his house to watch a movie. Now, apparently, I blog.

This all started when I was a kid.

I used to put my dog (a horrible little beast named Zap) in my backpack and ride my bike to the library. My liking books made the librarian like me, so she would get me whatever I wanted. I loved these books called The Snarkout Boys by Daniel Pinkwater. The premise was about these kids who would sneak out and go see movies in the middle of the night and wind up on adventures. I re-read them a few years back and found out they were very subversive and cool, and probably informed a lot of how I see the world.

So, I started using a tow rope attached to my bunk bed to sneak out at night and just roam around. I would go down to this one hotel in town that had a TV in the lobby and watch it, or I would just explore as many places as I could – everything was different at night. It was also fun to hide from the police and adults. Once, I was trying to sneak back in and saw my dad out back. He shot me a few times with a pellet gun because he thought I was the skunk that had been coming up to our lodge and spraying people. I had to lay there in the grass and not move until he gave up and went back inside. Fun stuff.

This all eventually led to much less wholesome activities after dark, but for a very cool time it was this magical world that was just mine.

I think this was one of the primary draws of acid and mushrooms to me – I loved taking them by myself wandering around my neighborhood. It felt like that world of endless possibility again.

I am not endorsing drug use here, I think quite a few of us were lucky to make it out of the 90’s alive. You know who you are.

I still think that the middle of the night is pretty cool, but only if I can find a way around the resistance to being awake when I feel like I am supposed to be sleeping.

It is funny how my mind tries to turn it into a catastrophic thing, telling me how tired I am going to be later today and how I just might die from exhaustion. But, it will all be alright, and for now I have a few hours to do whatever I want.

It is a lot less fun now that I can just walk out the front door though.