Like many of you, I sometimes wake up in the night just because I hit a patch of wakefulness that's been randomly tossed in there with the REM cycles. "I'm a little bored with sleeping right now," I say to myself. "And the house is quiet....I can go downstairs and get a few things done.....have a little peace...turn on the television without someone's bitterly saying, 'You watch the boringest shows'....." And then I get up and completely enjoy myself, even though I'm pretty sleepy and, okay, a little grouchy by the next afternoon.
But then there are those times like, oh, RIGHT NOW. Many of us experience this, too: I am suddenly jerked awake by who-knows-what, and immediately upon the return of my consciousness I am thinking that there's some important paperwork regarding our health insurance that must be filled out and mailed in, and I forgot to make an appointment at the optometrist, and there's a winter storm warning, and I need to contact the public library and make sure I have the dates set for the second semester Shakespeare class, and then there's a trip to the travel agent to give her the first payment for the Stratford Festival trip, and with this cold snap? What is our gas bill likely to be? The thermostat is going out on the SUV and my husband had a hard time keeping ice from forming on the windshield on his way home from work, and will the plumber actually come today to see why the drains are acting the way they're acting, or will it be another day of no-show?
Then my thoughts stray from my internal Things to Do List to the more negatively ephemeral: Oh, God, a terrorist tried to blow up a plane on Christmas Day....and some judge in Vermont sentenced a child rapist for sixty days after he was found guilty for having a sexual relationship with a little girl for four years, starting when she was six. The molester was let out of on $10,000 bail and promptly raped a three-year-old....Is this going to be a good year in car sales or are we going to have another year of struggling to stay afloat?....Is a sick family member going to be okay, or is there going to be one of those middle-of-the-night phone calls?
I hate it, don't you? When your eyes fly open in the middle of the night and the weight of the world comes crashing down? It's bad enough having that default setting in your mind that runs like a news trailer, reminding you of all the things you need to do to keep life running smoothly at your house, but when you start in on the misery of suicide bombers and baby rapers and sick relatives, it drives sleep from you like a strong wind topples a garbage bin and blows trash down the street.
Maybe tomorrow will be a better night for all of us.
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