I think if I just slept through the night, then woke up at 6 or 7 each morning and went about my usual day-to-day routine, my life would have turned out much differently.But I'm an insomniac.
Have been for as long as I can remember.
My brain is hopelessly wired like brain of the cat, or the possum, or the lemur. . . or the vampire or Gollum or the burglar.
You ever notice how novels always treat the human who's awake when all others sleep as the villain or the mentally twisted?
We insomniacs are a lonely bunch. Wouldn't it be great if we could have a party each night? We'd simply slip out of bed, put on our slippers and head on out to some pre-arranged meeting place. There we'd all sit in a circle on the carpet, holding warm glasses of milk, and exchange our stories of the night:
"Tonight I heard a prowler outside my bedroom window," an older widow says.
"Awe, that's nothing. I heard terrible fighting next door. Happens each time my neighbor comes home drunk."
"I climbed up onto my brother's bunk bed to watch our neighbor's tv," six-year old Matt chimes in. "I can see right into their living room. They were watching 'Zorro.'"
"I heard strange noises upstairs in the guest bath," I said. "When I went to check on it, there was a squirrel in the commode. Yep, absolute truth."
"How'd it get inside the toilet if the lid was closed?" asks the plumber, who drives his white van all around the neighborhood during the day.
I rub my bleery eyes and say, "Only thing I can think of, is it came up through the pipes, like those stories about the snakes coming up and scaring the bejeebers out of people in Brooklyn."
The plumber says, "Aren't you the lady who had a chipmunk in her house the other day?"
"Yeah, what about it?" I'm feeling kind of defensive.
"Didn't mean anything about it," the drowsy plumber says. "Just that you sure get a lot of critters in your house. Maybe I should come over and check your pipes."
"You guys are all cranky," A new guy named Dave says.
"Hah, " the lady who heard the prowler says. ""You'd feel a little cranky if you were afraid some creep was gonna break in and kill you."
"Believe it or not," says Dave, " I get scared at night, too. One thing that helps is singing."
"Singing?" We all say at once.
"Yes, that's right, singing. Oh, not loud enough to wake up the house. Just loud enough to remind me that when I can't sleep, I've still got God to talk to."
"At night, at 3 AM?"
"Why not?" Dave shrugs. "D'you think you'd wake God up?"
"What'll I sing?" the widow asks.
"I'm tone deaf," the plumber adds.
"Doesn't matter." Dave says.
"Singing's not going to make me sleep." I roll my eyes.
"Probably not," Dave says, "but God'll like it." He stands up and stretches. "Gotta go. Night, all."
He shuffles out the door.
We all stand up, too. The 3 AM meeting of insomniacs is over.
I help Matt get his slippers back on. "C'mon, I'll walk you home."
"On my bed I remember you;
I think of You through the watches of the night.
Because You are my help,
I sing in the shadow of Your wings.
My soul clings to you;
Your right hand upholds me." (Psalm 63: 6-8)