Sunday, January 30, 2005

Insomnia

I have had an irregular schedule of late, which means of course that my circadian rhythm -- free of any entraining influence -- has exerted its own creativity upon my life. So each night I find sleep a little later, becoming increasingly unproductive as my daylight hours become scarce and nightime hours, which invite idleness, become abundant. I often find myself on nights such as this looking for entertainment in odd places, such as the old file on my hard drive that contains things I wrote in the past. Here is something curious I came upon: a rivulet of thought that sprang from my sleep hungry mind a few years ago.

Given limitless time, there’s no limit to what I could accomplish. Impossible, perhaps, but true. My time never lasts as long as it lasts, and I can’t stand how unproductive it makes me. Are you kidding me? – another day and another tally of goals not met? I fret but this fretting only serves to waste more time. Really what I need to do is plan, plan out the last detail of my strategy so that I know exactly how to avoid every pitfall. But herein lies the difficulty, for my entropy is stronger than my order and the time spent ordering is as time spent trying to dam a river with my hands. I cannot make water flow uphill. But I think I could, though, given limitless time.

My plans, my plans! What have I need to know, when all I need I can do! To make it happen, that is my goal. And yet the sound surrounds me with its insistent din and echoes into the bottom of my soul. Oh, how quaint, to mention the soul – how sickeningly trite in this day and age. This time, this age holds me enrapt while it subtly, below the threshold of attention, exenterates me. If only I could have been born in a different time, in a different place, in a different time people did not think the same ways and look upon deeds the same as they do now. The deeds meant more, each of them, thick with marrow that is the genesis of the red liquid infusing all. And now what have we, and what have I? I have only my goals, my neverending goals and my neverending thoughts and my neverending dissatisfaction with my progress towards who I am, or who I was or will become if only I could reach my goals – my goals? Where did I get the term? Is it from some self-help book that I read during a depressive mood, or is it from some self-esteem and productivity training with which I was indoctrinated as a messy-haired boy in school? Why a goal? Why not a ball or a stem or a brick or something tangible? I want to reify, to make the goals concrete, for there I can lay my head or rest my feet. Ever elusive, though, this damned goal as the sound reaches a fever pitch and brandishes its sharp pitch at my eardrums. A puncture ensues, in the world of my mind, but a hand to check the side of my head finds not blood, not pus but only sweat dripped from the side of my face. If I were of the confrontational sort, I would assault the sound, threaten violence, violence of the kind I could not possibly execute as the man I am now and would not possibly execute, due to the reprehensibility of the thing, if I were the man I want to become. Composure! I want and need composure! But there will be time for that.

Life marching on with its incessant throbbing continues to pound my ears. But is that a mistake? Could life perhaps not be in the sound? Is the sound even a part of life at all? Or is life everything that spurns the sound, spits upon the ground, turns its back and walks away without fear of reprisal because it cannot fear reprisal? I fear what I cannot fear, and therein lies my pain. The noble thing, the true thing, the quality thing: to repudiate fear out of deference to the structure of being. My thing? To fear what I cannot because I think of it as some Sisyphusean task, nobleness springing from the interminable doing. Absurdity drips off of my face and into the ears that can get no relief from the sound. And it all attests to the time.

I clutch, and squeeze, and the material gives way between my hands but I cannot wring out the sound. The sponginess infects me, proliferates in my skin and my flesh until I too am soaked with the ghastly noise. Only I can’t squeeze it out, for a hand cannot grasp itself. I try, though, and I think I could if only I had limitless time.

I feel capitulation at my temples, claws digging in and piercing the flesh, digging further and gouging at it, it being the parts inside that cannot drip, or at least not drops I can feel. The sound, the furious sound. Signifying nothing. Or something, but I don’t know for sure quite what.

Finally a surge! I can withstand, I am mighty, I am not afraid. I have time, and I will not loosen my grasp. My will, indomitable, will surge onward!

My spoken claim to victory merely grants entrée to the inexorable. Sound drowns, an innocuous bath gone awry. I reach, I press. The beeping stops and I rise for another day.


A friend of mine read this once. As his eyes moved down the page, the space between his eyebrows grew increasingly furrowed, until I worried that perhaps his face might involute entirely and leave nothing but a moist, shiny skull. When he concluded reading, he looked at me with sincere concern and said, "Are you, umm...okay?" With some reassurance, I convinced him once again of my sanity, and never again ventured to let him read anything I had written.

5 Comments:

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Shadow Kat said...

hi
i was browsing through some blogs and read yours. i enjoyed reading the piece you wrote a while ago and i can relate to having a friend think you've lost your mind because of it. anyways
catch ya on the flip side

~shadow~

 
At 11:23 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

I just got back into blogging, but I needed to get away from xanga. I work nights and rarely go outside, I wonder if that's a good thing or not.

Stop by mine.

 
At 1:12 PM, Blogger kingfelix said...

maybe you should read Italo Calvino's "The Count of Monte Cristo" (from his book, Time and the Hunter), having read that youthful snippet. one strand of the short story concerns someone trying to evolve strategies to escape from a prison that may be expanding as he sits there planning.

E>U

 
At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having known Not Rocket Science since I was in middle school, I think his assessment on the Nerd Test is false. I would rank NRS in the 99th percentile! Anyhow, I enjoyed reading your blog!

 
At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading through your posts, it is readily apparent that you have a strong vocabulary. I was wondering if you could comment on how you built your vocabulary-did you read many books growing up? What about SAT preparatory books? Thanks!

 

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