Recipe for Insomnia

The time is just after 2:00 a.m. as I begin to write this, three and a half hours after going to bed. I don’t know how long I thrashed about in bed, trying to go back to sleep, before I finally gave up trying. My guess is at least half an hour, maybe more. No single thought prevented me from sleeping. This insomnia emerged, I think, from the collective effects of thousands of minor worries. They seem to be swirling around in my head simultaneously, creating waves where ripples would suffice. Before I finally swung my feet off the edge of the bed in surrender to sleeplessness, I shouted out a profanity; the volume of my scream virtually guaranteed I would not sleep for at least a while. So here I am, wondering what and whether to write. Hmm.


I took a break from wondering to have a few Crunchmaster crackers with hummus, supplementing the few odds and ends I had for dinner. I had planned on cooking a boneless, skinless chicken breast and some broccoli for dinner, but when the time came to do it, I was no longer in the mood. Sometime around 1:00 p.m. yesterday, I decided to order groceries online to refresh the pantry and refrigerator in anticipation of an ice storm that, if it materializes, will make travel even to the grocery store an exercise in insanity. The order was ready just before 5:00 p.m. When I returned home with the groceries, I was satisfied that I was prepared for meals for several weeks. But I lost interest. So the chicken I thawed sits in the refrigerator; I must cook it today. And the broccoli, fresh from the grocery store, wonders why I insisted on separating it from its brother broccolis so early.

For lunch yesterday, I made a massive pot of soup that easily could have served as my dinner, as well. But I wasn’t in the mood for soup last night. Now, though, I might change my tune. My midnight snack, delayed almost three hours, might consist of yesterday’s lunch. I concocted soup from chicken stock, Rotel tomatoes, plain diced tomatoes in a can, black beans, garbanzos, bell pepper, yellow squash, zucchini, a seven-grain rice mix, and a bit of Creole seasoning. There may have been more. It turned out to be reasonably good, but I think some more assertive seasoning may be required when I warm it up again. There’s enough left for at least two or three more meals.


I was in the mood for conversation last night, so I imposed on a friend who tolerated my need to talk and listen during a twenty-minute conversation about nothing earthshattering; just “talk.” Earlier, I was in a similar mood but I was not in a position to engage the target of my interest in verbal conversation, so I wrote a long, meandering email. I received a long, thoughtful reply to my meandering stream-of-consciousness message. I greatly appreciated the answer but I was embarrassed that I prompted a response requiring so much energy, when I perhaps should have been more considerate in asking for engagement when simple presence would do. But, then, the answer could have been curt, so maybe the energy in the reply was expended freely and gladly. I overthink things sometimes.


Later today, I hope to have a Zoom conversation with family members. One of my brothers still hasn’t been able to get Zoom to work, but the rest of us can chat for a while. As good as it is to see and hear one another on video, it does not compare to being in the same room. Unlike sitting together in a room, periods of silence seem awkward on video calls; perfectly natural pauses in face-to-face interactions seem long and uncomfortable on video, causing people to try to fill the void. At least that’s my sense of it. Video requires engagement, while face-to-face interaction just permits it.


I mentioned in a post, a day or two ago, needing to get something notarized. In response, I got an email from a very nice person (whose sense of humor matches mine quite nicely, by the way), saying she would gladly notarize my paperwork. Whether I get out today to have that done is up in the air, but it’s so gratifying to know there is someone willing to come to my aid as I wade through documents. Decency and compassion are visible in such simple and spectacular ways. If not for COVID, I would hug and kiss so many people I might be arrested for felony fondling. That doesn’t sound quite right, but I’m not going to change it now; it’s already on my screen.


It’s now past 3:00 a.m. and my hunger has surpassed the point at which Crunchmaster and hummus will satisfy me. What does one do at 3:00 a.m. with a boneless, skinless chicken breast? I suppose I could make a Greek-inspired lemon juice and yogurt marinated chicken dish and serve it with a flour tortilla (I don’t have any pita bread). The obstacle, though, is that I would have to let the chicken marinate for a couple of hours. That’s the problem with cooking; it take time to plan, prepare, and execute. I am hungry now. That’s the beauty of hummus; it’s ready when I am. I suppose I could heat a tortilla, spread hummus on it, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on the hummus, and put a few slices of onion on the concoction for crunch before rolling the tortilla. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. And, then, I’ll either try to go back to sleep or come back here and decide whether to write some more or post this as is.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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1 Response to Recipe for Insomnia

  1. Culinarily Curious says:

    How was that hummus taco? Sounds interesting…

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