Waiting sleep

by Lorin Michel Thursday, November 23, 2017 8:51 AM

Every night, as the sun goes down and the light of the day fades to black, the two solar inverters in our garage begin to pulse red. They do it quietly and steadily. Then, as the last of the light disappears, the red light flashes faster, briefly. On the LCD display it reads “Waiting sun.” Then they power completely down until sunrise. For some reason, this ritual occurred to me as I awaited sleep to revisit me early this morning. 

Lately I have been suffering from a relatively benign case of insomnia. I go to bed and fall asleep, but wake up somewhere between 1 and 2, and then can’t seem to get back to sleep for at least an hour, sometimes more. It happens almost nightly. I’ve tried to stop doing any work or even looking at the computer at least an hour before I go to bed. I’ve tried eating earlier than our usual too-late dinners. It works sometimes, but most nights, I have some variation on sleep-wake-stay awake-eventually sleep again. It leads to serial exhaustion. 

I know what you’re thinking. It’s the same thing I’m thinking. My work load is too much. And I’ve been traveling for meetings. And did you have to go back to school? When I saw my doctor for a checkup recently, my blood pressure was a little higher than normal. She asked, innocently, if I have a lot of stress in my life. I suppressed a laugh, and said, maybe a little more than normal. 

The thing is I’m not quite sure how to alleviate any of it. I need the work to pay the bills. I need school because I love it, and I’m committed now for two years. The work travel will subside a bit but that will be supplanted in the near term with holiday stuff. We’re going to Paso Robles again for Thanksgiving. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. We’re going to Des Moines the second weekend in December for a wedding, but we get to see Kevin’s family and Justin is coming. Then it’s full speed toward Christmas. Roy and Bobbi will be coming and we can’t wait. This year, we’re also having a New Year’s Eve party.

Plus there are gifts to buy and wrap, and in some cases, ship. There is decorating to be done. And school. Though school will be out on December 8 for about a month. But I will still have things to do during that month in order to stay caught up with my cohortmates, as the prof calls us. 

And so each night, the red lights blink in my head as I lay awake, alternating between too hot, too cold, and eventually just right. The figurative light flashes and flickers. Eventually, I can feel sleep begin to drape my body. That fuzzy, incoherent feeling that always delivers. The light flashes faster then, and just before I power down, the LCD screen behind my closed eyes displays “waiting sleep.”

Power down complete.

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