You know that feeling when you are exhausted, but you just can’t sleep? And when you do finally drop off you wake up just a few hours later, and it’s still the middle of the night. I am not sure it’s helpful to be a writer at times like these; when something is so ingrained on my mind and refuses to go away. I can scare myself to death and create a thousand things to worry about, each one worse than the last.
I wish I could just tell my brain: “Not now thanks, trying to sleep, or eat or whatever…” but annoyingly there is no off button (believe me I’ve tried) and it drives me mad. Oddly, I find the best solution is writing. But when its 3am and I find myself sitting on the edge of the bed sipping water it feels a tad crazy, and I tell myself: “I am not going to start writing notes at this hour…” then about twenty minutes later and after rotating through every conceivable position on the bed… “okay, I’ll get my notebook then…”
This sleepless week has been full of interesting highlights too though; like putting on one white shoe and one black and not realising until I got out the street door, or driving off without putting all my shopping in the boot of the car, and falling asleep in the coffee shop – just narrowly avoiding a nose full of froth! It seems that coffee can only do so much!
All this reminded of something I had long forgotten. When I was serving in the Navy I had to work through the night and had just one day off the following morning. Tired, but determined to make the most of this one day’s liberty I ventured into town alone for lunch at a cafe and then on to the cinema. Then as now, I felt like a zombie all day but it was better than being back at the base.
I noticed I kept drawing some strange looks as I walked through the busy shopping areas after lunch. I began to imagine that perhaps I now resembled the zombie I felt like? Never the less I enjoyed the day the best I could and the film (can’t remember which one now) wasn’t half bad either.
Afterwards I returned to the base, exhausted but feeling better for my day away from the usual drab surroundings. I got more strange looks, this time off the security staff back at the base. “Are you alright?” they asked somewhat bemused and staring at my face. “Of course,” I said defiantly. Then they suggested that I go look in the mirror before breaking out into fits of laughter. Irritable, I stormed off to confront the mirror. It was bizarre; somehow I had grown a Hitler style moustache and gained a set of Michael Caine’s glasses. I still don’t know how it happened, or when. And I honestly do not remember falling asleep all day – ever, but I obviously had, and someone obviously saw their opportunity and got busy like Banksy with a black felt-tip pen. I suspect it happened in the cafe if I had to put money on it, I don’t remember missing any part of the film.
At the time I was horrified, but I can see the funny side now (after 10 years) The moral of the story is get some sleep before you venture out, but if like me you can’t – drink more coffee and beware of anyone armed with a felt-tip pen. I wonder… if it had been Banksy perhaps I could have sold myself at an art auction?