I don’t sleep much these days. Five or six hours seems to do the trick. Depending on a very short list of motivations (sleepy, bored, depressed, can’t think of anything else to write), I may go to bed at 9 p.m. Sometimes I stay up until 11:30 p.m. It hardly matters – I’m still up long before the birds. That means with this new early daylight savings time crapola I’m wide awake for the darkest wee hours every single morning.
Eventually the sandman catches up with me and forces me to sleep 10 or 12 hours to make up. It happens about once every two weeks. I have no control over this – I no longer set an alarm clock, since I’ll only be turning it off before it rings anyway. Yesterday morning, the sandman made me miss an early morning diner breakfast and much-needed human conversation with a dear friend. (Sorry dog, sorry cat, sometimes a person just needs another person to schmooze with, you know?) My friend rang my cell and asked if I wanted to come have coffee 45 minutes after I was supposed to be there. I’d been up for about ten minutes, and he had to take off for work soon, so I couldn’t. But he was very sweet and diplomatic and didn’t chew on me for standing him up.
The poor dog only knows that when I get out of bed, go to the kitchen and make coffee, it’s time for his breakfast. He doesn’t know it’s 3 a.m. I’ve tried telling him he should wait a few hours, because it’s a long time until suppertime, but he acts so disappointed and discombobulated I have to give in. He really likes his breakfast. He’s a creature of habit, like I am.
This morning it was 3:45 a.m. when I rolled out of bed. I did the routine – make coffee, feed the dog, turn the faucet in the bathroom on to a dribble for the cat – and shuffled into my little den to crank up the laptop to try for one of those early morning inspirational writing sessions. Sometimes they come, more often they don’t. The world outside the window was black as pitch. Silent, except for the breeze making the windchimes sing very softly.
I don’t like just any old, jangly windchimes. Mine are the kind purchased after saving up for a while, each pipe of the chime tuned to a specific note. I have one set of medium sized ones that I hear often, since they’re not heavy, and another really huge set with deep, bell-like tones that I only get to hear when it’s really windy, often during thunderstorms. Then there’s the tiny set that the wind finds only very seldom, but when it does, they surprise me with a very soft, zinging tinkle. A zephyr. This pleases me.
Eventually, my stomach tells me it’s time to eat. I’ve never been one to eat as soon as I get up – it takes three or four hours for my insides to catch up with my brain. So I went to the kitchen to find food. I’m not big on breakfast food, either. I remembered there were some nice whole wheat crackers on the shelf. And some sliced provolone cheese. Sounded a little dull, so I also got out the sliced ham, too. I took eight crackers from the packet. Two big, round slices of provolone. Two slices of ham. I cut the cheese and the ham into quarters. Got a small plate. I was about to put them on it when I realized if I put my little open-faced sandwich crackers together now, I wouldn’t get greasy fingersmarks on my keyboard. So I stood there and put a slice of ham, then a slice of cheese, on each cracker, and piled them all on the little plate.
That made me remember all the morning snacks we’d bring to the office when I was working. Salami, cheese and crackers. Sometimes cheese and fruit. Sometimes boxes of grocery store bakery cookies or sweet, gooey donuts.
As I carried my plate of ham, cheese and crackers back to my den with my fresh cup of coffee I realized:
I really, really need to find a friggin’ job.