Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I can’t get no sleep

“It's at night, when perhaps we should be dreaming, that the mind is most clear, that we are most able to hold all our life in the palm of our skull. I don't know if anyone has ever pointed out that great attraction of insomnia before, but it is so; the night seems to release a little more of our vast backward inheritance of instincts and feelings; as with the dawn, a little honey is allowed to ooze between the lips of the sandwich, a little of the stuff of dreams to drip into the waking mind. (…) Perhaps that's why some of us are insomniacs; night is so precious that it would be pusillanimous to sleep all through it"
Brian W. Aldiss
I suffer from insomnia and Brian W. Aldiss is an arse. I would just like to make that clear from the start, in case any one was thinking this was going to be some kind of arty little piece about the romance of the night. Bah. I found this quote at 4.46 this morning when, in the absence of anything else to do, I put “insomnia” into every search engine I could find. And he uses words like ‘pusillanimous’ – what does he do, sit up all night reading the thesaurus? How peremptory.

As for perceiving 'our vast backward inheritance of instincts' – could he mean Facebook do you think? Second Life? Living our lives in cyberspace at unusual times of the day and night? I do that. Facebook, MySpace, flickr, friends reunited; my favourite shop is Ebay and love Google Blog Search for that really bleak stretch just before dawn. I have become a virtual weird old man who wanders around the streets at night shouting rude and inappropriate comments at people having normal healthy fun.

I am not lacking in imagination! I have already fed nearly every random name from my past (near and distant) into that great virtual haystack – I found an old school friend and didn’t find any ex-boyfriends – so pretty successful all round. Usually around 5am I get stuck into Blog Search – some of them are boring aren’t they?! I’ve been looking for my friend’s mystery blog: he is writing, but won’t disclose the web address. I am not certain whether he wants anyone to look for it – but insomnia reduces any ethical considerations to mere whimsy. Beyond 5.30am I’ll do just about anything to keep amused. "Anyway", I told him, "you might as go public – no one reads these things."

The problem is though, (as the narrator from Fight Club pointed out – Earths’ Biggest Movie Database) “when you have insomnia, you're never really asleep... and you're never really awake,” that’s because you’re very, very, very tired. I sit here as the hours tick by, too vague and disconnected to do any work, research or even write a decent blog (feel free to correct me on that point); putting stupid words into Google; attempting to trace my family tree or looking up quotes, lyrics, movie reviews (education, I tell myself) none of which I read. I just scan. I’m one of those machines on the supermarket check-out: ‘blip’ I say, ‘yep, seen it; next! Blip! Yeah, that too…. Blip!’ And yawning, I do a lot of yawning. I do full-body yawns which nearly throw me from my chair. Last night I discovered a ‘Traveller IQ’ test – which I did 9 times. I now have a ‘superior’ Traveller IQ and am ranked in the top 7,000 in the world. I am Jane’s complete lack of surprise.

What did insomniacs do before computers? Watch mindless TV I suppose. I don’t want to sound contumelious, I also watch a lot of crap TV, but that’s not worth blogging about.

It’s not just a nocturnal condition either: in the daytime, I am too tired and grumpy to do anything interesting. As a result: I socialise badly and I work poorly. I loiter, however, very well.


botogol said...

perhaps you had been out with old friends and drunk too much earlier in the evening :-)

Anonymous said...

Ill met by moonlight, proud Titiana.

Glad you looked up the *old* school friend :)

Have you seen The Machinist? Insomniac thriller reminiscent of Memento ... possible viewing for the small hours

Anonymous said...

Ugh - I can't even quote properly - Titania methinks..

Anonymous said...

insomnia led me to your blog.. eventually... and then to Boracay.. then to the rest of the Phillipines.. and as I like history ... well it goes on... thank you..

Anonymous said...

I liked what you said, and Aldiss. I found your blog trying to google search that quote. I'm no insomniac just one with weird sleep schedule and I touch on what he's saying except I'd never be able to say in such poetic terms.
maybe that's not what you were talking about, i'm a pretty bad reader honestly.

Anonymous said...

Hey wait, what? How do you get to travel so much and work on a fishing boat? Tell me how I can see a bear shit in the woods and I'll get a start on. Who else aside from Shakespeare? You really don't believe in the idea of "God"?
I realize you wrote this a long time ago, but if you read my comment ever, send me some wisdom!

Anonymous said...

Doh! I'd feel better if I ended with Peace with a capital P.

outside-jane said...

Thanks for your comments Joyce! I'm glad you enjoyed the blog. Is there really such a thing as a 'bad reader'? I think not!

To answer your questions:

1. Travel: because that's what I spend ALL my money on. I've travelled the world, cos I don't even own a toaster.

2. Fishing: I went to the port and asked for a job. Money's good, but it was the hardest work I've ever done.

3. Bears: I don't know! I got lucky I guess!

4. Who else? Oh... a lot. Books are my friends.

4. No.

Peace! And come back soon! J