Sunday, September 11, 2005

Insomnia, Em, and a Respite

Fri. 7:48p…Insomnia still. I never realized what a mean thing it could be. I slept three and one half hours Monday night.

Tuesday—nothing. Not a single wink.

Wednesday—climbed in bed with Em at 11:30p. Watched the clock until 2:00a. Saw it again at 2:15a, 2:40a, 3:00a. I got out of bed at 5:15a. In between, I got up three times to investigate “noises.”

I am paranoid and jittery. My eyes hurt. My skin aches. Hot flashes. So, unless I am menopausal, my mind and body are simply battling the demons I can’t give voice to. Also, I’ve learned that with no sleep comes an absolute lack of appetite. It progresses from a “don’t want to eat” to a “can’t eat.” Everything within sight becomes unappetizing.

It is amazing, I’d say, the thoughts and questions that invade a man’s head during such times. I find myself considering man’s propensity for violence most often. Strange for me, but somehow comforting.

09.10.05 …With the above comes a gnat’s attention span and ability to complete a thought. So it is now some 24 hours later.

I was nonfunctional and so took yesterday off work to try to rest. I did sleep about five hours so that was good. Parts of the day follow: Having worn the same pair of contacts for six weeks, I went to the eye doctor for new ones. $45.00 later, I left with three month’s of mediocre sight. From there, I lumbered down Highway 70S, turned left on Old Hickory, found Sevier Brothers, and priced tires for the fading Jeep. The freshly head-shaven, tattooed guy who dealt with me, was about as patient with me as one with a child who doesn’t really like children yet feels guilty about it. With alignment and bottom of the barrel tires, I am looking at $514.00. Pocket change, Baby! I carry that kind of scratch in my bra.

From there, I actually went to a Firearms store (or Gunshop) on Charlotte Pike. Me. I priced handguns. Not to worry though. I can’t afford a Glock 9mm. And truth be told, I would never be comfortable having one around with Em in the house. But I looked, just the same.

From there to Green Hills. I was thirty-five minutes early for Jim Jarmuschs’s Broken Flowers. The movie was a fraction of what I wanted it to be, yet still wonderful. I like me some Bill Murray. The guy is a fucking treasure.

…So M. bought a house. Along with D., I helped him move today. M. has long been my single contact in Bellevue. And while we rarely take advantage of proximity, I will miss him. Gallatin seems like a country away to me. But, of course, it is not. I am very pleased for him. Buying a house is a big thing. It is a good move for him.

…My Boy is in Boston since Thursday and I miss him. But I am pleased for him to have the experience. Last I spoke to him he was tooling around Boston Harbor on Uncle P.’s boat. Good for him. It is a grand harbor with a remarkable view. I love Boston and I love that he does too. His words to me were, “Hello, Daddy! Happy Birfday! I love you! I saw a whale!” Apparently, Boston Harbor is lousy with whales. Leave it to Emerson…

Since I still have no appetite, I figured the thing to do was grill a T-bone the size of my head (and add a baked potato). I managed five bites of the steak and ½ the potato. I am a notorious glutton. What gives?

…09/11/05… I slept some last night. And I’ve eaten better today. I sat at Daltons for awhile and partook of offered draughts and Woodfords.

Before that, I watched my Titans play a miserable game.

I am now on the porch. It is mild out—very comfortable. I’ve relit the remainder of last night’s mammoth birthday cigar—what Kinky Friedman would call a “dead soldier.” And it is exactly as Winston Churchill once described the re-lighting of a cigar—“a little gamey.” It is. It is gamey and satisfying. I will finish the La Flor Dominicana of gargantuan size and follow it with a CAO Gold Double Corona. The CAO I will see to completion.

The sky is a blue now that defies description as it fades to night. The Gloam, I call it. It is my most pleasurable part of the day and its perfection is second only to my Boy. How I miss him today. I have spoken with him four times and each time he has been preoccupied—as you would expect a three-year-old to be. To him, so far away, I am but a distant voice. To me, he is sustenance. His return is marked for 4:45p tomorrow, and I anxiously await it. It occurs to me that I rely far too heavily on him for my own happiness. And I am sharp enough to recognize the infinite unfairness of that. It is part of my duty as a father to withhold that knowledge from him. I fear I do not do a very good job of that sometimes. That is an unfair burden for him to bear. But it is fact. Although he is as intuitive as a person five times his age, I will strive to keep this from him his whole life. There is some knowledge from which no good can arise. I pride myself in holding to that.

That being said, I look forward to his return tomorrow.

…I plan to take a break for now. Two, maybe three weeks. Time enough to get my head together and end this betrayal of self of being so personal in this forum. I have stories to share and I hope to work them up: My encounter with spiders at the Washington zoo; Em calling me an asshole in the doctor’s waiting room—all smile and innocence; my take on a particular day; betrayal and the like.

So, until then, whether one week or five, I bid you adieu. I will return, rested, svelte, sober in thought, and with stories to share.

Insomnia free.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Sleepless Miles and a Child’s Perspective (Thursday Night Postscript)

How I do appreciate the perspective of a child. Em and I made an 8:00p liquor store run—me for Evan and wine; him for the complimentary sucker he gets each visit. At the intersection of Old Hickory and HWY 70, a guy on foot—30ish—crossed the busy road, and headed along the sidewalk into the dark. He looked tired and unenthused. My thinking was that poor motherfucker without a car. That’s gotta suck. While this profane reality trudged through my head, Emerson offered in a voice rife with innocence and sincerity, Ahh, dat man’s taking a walk…I bet he’s goin’ to see his Mommy and Daddy.

A guy on a walk trumps a poor unlucky motherfucker any day of the week. I think I have a bit to learn from Emerson.

The guy sitting on my porch last week wearing a Pussy Suit and drinking a tumbler of Whine as he penned an unintentionally melodramatic post has been replaced by me—melancholy, sleepless me. I’ve not been sleeping and I look more haggard than usual—frumpy in the face, circles under my once blue eyes. My thinker is still off and I’ve got no game. I think if you looked up dish rag in Webster’s, you might find an illustration of me (sans pussy suit, of course). Time to get my act together. Do some figuring. This may be a tough one as in my world, LOGICAL = X and not once have I been able to solve for X. Fucking algebra. I wouldn’t know the Quadratic Formula if it numbered up behind me and bit me on the ass. But I’ll write a five paragraph essay on the grand mystery that is Math. Since I was a child, I have had no concept or grasp of Absolutes. I suppose that’s why I adore the gray of interpreting literature and poetry—the utter beauty of possibility.

I feel the need to do something. To go somewhere. But I don’t feel it strongly enough to do anything about it. Isn’t that lovely? A wanderer who is too lazy to wander. What would Kerouac say? Maybe I’ll go to Clarksville. That’s near enough to be an adventure without too much effort. When does the last train leave, I wonder. Perhaps I’ll find the tallest Cyprus tree in the city, make my perch at the apex, squint into the stolen night of West Nashville. Become a voyeur and thieve the West and its wonderful rolling hills. Perhaps not. Perhaps that is a visit for another day. When something inside me recedes. But, of course, needing to do something and actually following through are two different things. I doubt I would make it much past Madison, nor need to. And once I got there, I would need about six months of sleep.

I’ve been listening to Miles lately—Kind of Blue mostly. I am forever amazed at how controlled yet all over the proverbial map that recording is. It is a fucking beautiful mess and I sense it could be my personal soundtrack of late. A misplaced piano key followed by a mournful horn. It is a musical novella that never fails to stun. It’s as if Raymond Carver made a move on Eudora Welty but ended up tongue-kissing Charles Bukowski at the track—and they set it to music.

Well, it’s not really like that, but that’s a pretty cool image, eh. Maybe it’s more like the Deer Hunter had it been directed by Jim Jarmusch. Powerful and about 6 ½ hours shorter. Maybe it’s like Jimmy Stewart in Harvey quoting the Iliad. More likely it is like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation being Bill Murray in Lost in Translation, his hidden whisper the very thing a real man would say to the woman he loves. Perhaps. Or perhaps it is simply Miles Davis being brilliant. Either way, I’ve been listening.

So the short of it is that I need to learn to sleep again. To prop two pillows beneath my ruined head, and put the cool, remaining beat up feather pillow over my eyes. I should pour out my drink. Cut short my Gran Habano #3. Fall to much needed sleep with Miles in the foreground, followed by Paganini.

But the reality is that I will mix a fresh drink, pace the hallway and kitchen, make busy by folding clothes, or loading the dishwasher or looking at my books, or thinking about work, or doing something else that I need to do. And then, a few minutes before two a.m., I will climb beneath my single sheet and run rabbits until sleep finally comes. And in the minutes, before sunrise, I will doze.

When I awake, I will recall like a scholar how my son saw a poor motherfucker without a car take a delightful stroll. And I will be thinking this as I wake him to start his own day.

Who knows what other treasures he will find in other people’s dismissal tomorrow.