Very early in the morning, just after midnight, the dim night light in the bathroom provides just enough illumination for me to avoid bumping into bedroom furniture. An hour and a half later, the faint glow of the microwave’s clock does the same as I make my way out of the bedroom into the kitchen. By three in the morning, I follow the pale blue flicker of the modem’s lights toward the guest room, where I keep my notebook computer. That’s the room in which I do most of my writing. There, I can turn on the light without worry that I will wake my wife; I often worry that, if I turn on the kitchen or living area lights, I’ll wake her. It hasn’t happened yet, but I worry. I am, by nature, a worrier, even when evidence suggests it is a pointless pastime, as evidence usually does.
Lately, for three or four nights, anyway, I’ve had a great deal of experience with the different ways dim lights provide beacons for my forays about the house. I’ve had a great deal of trouble getting to sleep. I stare at the ceiling, or keep my eyes closed, and wait for sleep to come; forty-five minutes, an hour, two hours. And then, once I’ve finally drifted off, I awake again, either with a need to pee or a sense that sleep is trying to avoid me and, therefore, I must seek it out. I do that by wandering the house.
Perhaps the difficulty in going to sleep and staying asleep has to do with my recent affinity for massive amounts of iced tea in the evening. That should not be the cause, for I drink decaffeinated tea, but maybe the sheer volume of icy liquid is playing havoc with my sleep cycle.
But might there be an underlying psychological cause, something bothering me? Perhaps, though I can’t guess what it is. Yet it’s not outside the realm of possibility that I’ve allowed things that really have no business bothering me to do just that. I think I might need to recline on a couch in the presence of a skilled and gifted psychotherapist who could, through his or her superior skills in ferreting out motivation, uncover the culprit that’s causing my insomnia. Or, I could write string of consciousness blather in the off-chance I might simply allow the reason or reasons to slip out of my brain, down my arm, to my fingers, and onto the keyboard. I sometimes believe that’s the way I think; without a willing keyboard, I might be unable to form complete thoughts. Even with a keyboard, my thoughts often clash with my fingers, refusing to have anything to do with them, in the fear my fingers might expose thoughts unsuited to polite company. Whatever the hell that means.
Returning to the lights, at times I am struck by the fact that the moon can fill the sky with brilliant light but, because of its location in relation to the windows in my house, I cannot rely on the moon for illumination. Instead, I must depend on electricity. Colored filaments and blinking lights and dim glows that offer clues that allow me, usually, to avoid slamming my head or my feet into something that too closely resembles the dead black air surrounding it.
Off I go, to try again to take a break from wakefulness.