Monday, March 7, 2016


I have never slept particularly well.  Perhaps I am what is described as a "light sleeper".  The fact is, I sleep best in the oddest circumstances - for example, in the dentist's chair, in the waiting lounge at an airport, on a chaise longue by the pool or when sitting at my desk.  But when it comes to going to bed and sleeping at night - unless I am at the point of utter exhaustion - I am a reluctant candidate.  This lack of routine accommodation means that I have trouble getting to bed and then trouble staying asleep.  As a result I spend a good deal of my time in bed lying awake or half-asleep.

The semi-conscious state precipitates disturbing reflections, the frequency of which demonstrates these tendencies to be constitutional. These reflections do not qualify as dreams, at least not normally. Certainly I have experienced dreams, those renditions of unreal events usually marked by dark green colours, sequences which are sometimes scary involving falling or perpetual motion towards some disaster.  But primarily my awareness of such dream-like sensations involves contemplation of real issues which usually cause me anxiety.

Last night for example I was disturbed by a number of fleeting thoughts; viz., the Vietnam war, the manipulation of power by politically hunger demagogues, the imminence of death, my own threatening health conditions (obesity and heart disease), the inescapable reality of my insipid life and the declining condition of my elderly mother.  Granted much of this may have been prompted by having watched the last episodes of "House of Cards" starring Kevin Spacey on Netflix, a series which (though filmed months ago) spookily captures many of the real current threats facing the United States.  This proximity may in turn have been supported by the constant stream of rhetoric which we watch on TV surrounding the Republican and Democratic nomination caucuses. We have allowed ourselves to become engulfed in the media frenzy which has been sparked in particular by the egregious conduct of Donald Trump.

These agitated thoughts exhaust me.  When at last I fall into something resembling sleep it is usually as late as six or seven o'clock in the morning and by that time I am beginning to feel the usual pang of guilt which for years has prompted me to get out of bed and do something constructive.  What bothers me most about these nocturnal ramblings is that there is so much truth to them; it isn't just a matter of shaking myself awake to shake off their remnant encumbrance.  It is as though the clammy cold of the midnight air freezes the trepidations in my mind and allows them to linger there for hours afterwards. And like most bad dreams there is never a reconciliation but rather a state of perpetual disquietude.

When I extract myself from the tangled bed sheets, and after I have undertaken a catharsis of morning ablutions or initiation of a laundering of my bed clothes and whatever lingered from yesterday, I am able to set myself upon a path of rejuvenation.  I know in my heart that it is only the strength of the occupation which succeeds to distance me from those haunting perambulations. I am by nature a worrywart, something for which I have even been prescribed medication but I have long since abandoned the palliative as I was convinced it was a mere placebo.  For some reason I am more intent upon addressing and rationalizing what I fashion as palpable conundrums than to distract myself from them.  This amounts to a desire to go down in flames rather than out with a sputter. Having convinced myself long ago that life owes me nothing and that I have far more to be thankful for than to regret, I am not about to relinquish my hold on things without a fight, even if it means forgoing sleep or spending my waking hours ruminating endlessly upon nervous misgivings or events of uncertain outcome.

Eventually of course I am overwhelmed by that very serendipity which I acknowledged and I capitulate my needless apprehension to settled behaviour.  No doubt there is a bi-polar element to this condition which might explain the mercurial activity of the mind.  Nonetheless it is not so offensive that I am yet convinced to ignore it entirely. I persist in believing that there is a philosophic truth to be extracted from an examination of things as tiresome as it may be. Oddly my motivation is always to make myself whole, to restore the integrity of my thinking, to compensate for the erosion of my predominantly optimistic career. In the end I stand assured that I am the master of my own destiny and that I shall conduct myself along its path with strength of character. The fact that I may from time to time be required to disturb my indulgent vacuity is simply a casualty of such persistence.

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