I’m not very good at sleeping. I’m not sure when exactly I was supposed to learn this skill, but I never did.
It’s not like I need more reasons to love Tom Waits, but he once said something to the effect of sleeping at night is another way society makes you conform. Certainly, magical things only occur after midnight.
Firstly, the world is your own. I walked home from a night out last week, past the world famous Royal Albert Hall, around 2am. And I stopped in front of it and realised, I am the only person in the world right now, standing here. No one is walking past, or about to. Maybe if I walked into Hyde Park, I could have had the whole thing to myself.
Okay, so when I can’t sleep I don’t necessarily go wandering in parks. But you feel more alive when everyone around you is asleep. If there is someone of something watching over us, you have their attention. If there’s songs to be plucked out of the air, the air is clear for you to grab them.
My mind is at it’s clearest after midnight. I know this. I often manage to get a lot done, if I’m writing, or even just cleaning or sorting something out on the computer. Even Ikea furniture construction. And Tom Waits is right. When you’re on a roll, why does the world say you have to sleep?
The argument against, of course, is if I got good healthy early nights, my brain would actually work in the mornings. But there is a part of me that thinks if I go to sleep before 12, I’m wasting precious time. And once you hit 12, 3am’s a piss in.
The idea of sleeping pills has been considered and considered too scary. I get addicted to things enough thank you. The fact I eat crap every day may also be making something in me not balanced. Is there a sleep vitamin? Pot smoking and wanking have also been suggested. I will not admit publicly to either but in any event I’m still not sleeping.
So back to what happens when you’re awake past the witching hour. Listening to music is always like listening on headphones, whether headphones are used or not. You’re more attuned to the details of it. It’s far easier to lose yourself in the world of a late night movie (or more likely an episode of the Sopranos). And when it’s raining…geez you should have been there to sit and just watch the rain from my old place, with some light music on. Something like Still Crazy After All These Years.
The real magic happens when you’re not alone. When you have someone to call. Londoners were especially great, and now I guess it’s true for Australians. Perth was always good to me. But sometimes you find someone online, and you’re both up, and you say, gimme a call…
Sometimes it’s easier in this day and age to just stay online. But when you’re crapping on at two in the morning… you know the scene when William calls Lester Bangs in Almost Famous? And Lester says, the greatest currency we have is the moments we share when we are uncool. You’re not at the pub, you’re not out, not worried about people overhearing. Some good stuff happens. I used to talk til the sun came up. I was working part time when this was happening.
Work really kicks this part of one’s life in the ass. I need a planet with longer days, and I don’t see terraforming happening in my lifetime. It has occurred to me that sleeping better may be something I need to work on, but I’m not sure how. Hopefully old age will just get me and I just sleep all the time like, well, my Dad. There’s always hope.
Okay, I should be sleep. Society, it seems, has got it’s claws in me again. It’s been nice talking to you. I’m going to try and dream my dreams.
(apologies and thank yous to Kim and Laura)