Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A Long Dark Midnight Snack Of The Soul

On Saturday Paul and Darren (also known as Rock God and Bass Bin) pulled the hay from their hair and smartened themselves up to make the trip east to the big city and to visit me. As ever I feigned delight at seeing them and we soon fell into a decades old pattern of abuse and nostalgia. Having known each other since infancy we have a lot of nostalgia between us.

Paul, when not playing deafeningly loud rock music in dozens of west country pubs and music venues, works as an administrator in the beloved NHS where he is a highly valued, well motivated and appreciated member of a dedicated team. Or as he puts it - “Just because you're essential doesn't mean you're important.”

Darren runs his own company called Project Link where he oversees the building of refrigeration storage unit type thingies. In a very real sense he is a fridge magnate.

It was great to see them both again, even if it meant I missed a fireworks party round at Catherine and Stewart's home. But as Cath told me at the school gate when I was rounding up the boys from their educational duties, I can see them any time. I then realised I hadn't seen them in ages, what with chest infections, bad backs, and sheer bone-idleness. Then I felt guilty.

I'm was feeling exceedingly emotionally frail yesterday due the mother of bad nights I had had. Usually I fall asleep quite easily and when I don't I have certain mental processes that normally are effective. Failing those, I just read some more. No problem. That night nothing worked. I don't normally get stressed about the odd night of insomnia; after all, it's not as if I have anything too critical to do the next day. But as the night dragged on and on I began to feel trapped. All I wanted to do was get up, wander about for a few minutes, and perhaps make myself a drink. Of course I couldn't. Getting up for a few minutes would take about fifteen minutes and then another ten or so to get back in to bed. Not to mention the time it would take for the ambulance to arrive if I tried to make a hot drink. The trouble was I can remember being able to do those things. I can remember making my own hot drinks and carrying them safely to a table. I can remember just getting out of bed because I had forgotten something. My brain, on Sunday night, kept telling my body to just get on with it and my body just laughed. I became increasingly aware of all the things I can't physically do any more, which at 3 in the morning is a very dark place to be, both literally and figuratively. (Well not literally actually. Our bedroom is anything but dark, what with the little green light from the ceiling hoist, the orange battery charger light, the red bedside clock, the varying green light on the ventilator, the hoist power supply light and, of course, the ubiquitous sodium orange glow of urban living that leaks through the curtains. Sometimes I think we should relocate the room to Blackpool.)

I am perfectly aware that it was sleep deprivation that was behind my long dark midnight snack of the soul. Once the thought was in my head I couldn't switch it off. I lay there feeling trapped. Of course, it wasn't sufficient for me to suffer alone. My occasional gentle shuffling eventually woke the light of my life who was full of sympathy (the first few times). Apparently me turning a small light on to read by in the middle of the night occasionally can be a little bit annoying. (Who knew?)

I survived, of course, although, for some reason, Polly was a little bit tetchy the next day. I'm not naturally given to navel-gazing self pity (unless I'm writing this blog) so I found the experience a bit disconcerting. Even worse, Polly, who habitually reads this over my shoulder while I write, in case I malign her in any way, became all upset when she read I felt trapped. “What do you mean, trapped?” she demanded. “Trapped in a loveless marriage?” “What? No!” I answered, genuinely confused. “Oh, that's okay then,” she said, somewhat mollified. “I was just checking.” Then she added, “You need to get some fresh air.” Which is why I ended picking up the boys from school, meeting Cath, and feeling guilty of friendship neglect. Who says life has no symmetry.

End of ramble. Until next time.