WKSU, our local NPR station has a syndicated music program on all night and it tends to play unusual music, not the sort of thing they play during the day where you can whistle the violin and flute parts, but things you've never heard before. One night last week I turned it on in the middle of this infuriating endless thing which made me shout, "Pick a goddam theme, will ya, and quit wandering all over the place!" Then I had to stay awake until I could find out who had perpetrated the thing. I was guessing Shostakovitch, Prokofiev - some goddam Russian, I thought. It turned out to be Stravinsky, so I was in the right country. It was called "The Card Game" and if you ever hear that title announced ahead of time, switch to a late night talk show. I try reading, but I can't keep the book from slipping off the covers and I can't concentrate anyway because I am so annoyed at being awake. I think about the beautiful walks in the British Lake District and try to imagine myself there, but it's too sad because I'm not.There's a neighbor's house behind me in which the lights are always on, no matter what time it is. It belongs to one of my German professors and if it weren't so goddam cold I'd go bang on his window and ask him about the "der" words one more time. There's a soporific for ya.
So instead I start to think about things, like what are the odds of a meteor descending at that moment right toward my house? How long is it going to take me to catch up on those goddam New Yorkers piled up by my chair. I'm up to October, and they keep coming. What shall I fix for dinner tonight? Is my starving artist daughter keeping herself fed this winter? Should I go have a piece of the delicious apple pie John baked last night? Just how much money has my IRA lost so far and how much more will I lose? Should I buy a new car at my age, especially when my car runs fine? Do I need new tires? What kind of damage to my body are these pills doing, anyway? Because all us asthmatics and our aerosol inhalers have contributed to global warming they have switched us to some kind environmentally safe propellant which is burning the hell out of my throat, isn't it, even though I rarely have to use it unless I have what I have now. Will Sally get to work okay in this foul weather and are the steps to her apartment ice-free so she won't fall and break something? And, of course, there's all that stuff I wrote about and what shall I do about the house when I croak? What time is it now?
I have made 5 a.m. the arbitrary hour by which it is okay to get up, get the paper, make my coffee and be officially UP, even though I have been awake for two hours already. I can only assume that this is a temporary situation and no doubt drug induced insomnia, but I do not like it, not one bit. I know I am not alone in this. You'd think any sane person would have had insomnia during the entire Bush regime and now that the sumbitch is going away, we should be able to sleep better. When I get the drugs out of my system - and they have made the germs go away - I will be back to my usual sleep patterns: Seinfeld, then sleep. All night.