Ghosts Appear and Fade Away

Sometimes I sleep. Okay, it’s three in the morning right now but sometimes I sleep. I’m not a complete insomniac.

Who am I kidding? Yes I am. I have slept like the rest of the world at times. You know, the full eight hours in the dark. But since I can’t remember a night like that in two years I may as well give up. I am an insomniac. Incapable of proper night-time activities. Namely sleep.

I used to make excuses. I took great offense to being called an insomniac. The word has an ugly ring to it. People take medicine to cure it. I was NOT an insomniac. I was simply living in the wrong time zone. ( In Cork children are going off to school right now and tourists are getting ready to kiss the Blarney Stone. I have no idea why, but they are.) I’ve also claimed to be an unrecognized genius since loads of famous geniuses are rumored to have slept little. No real evidence to support either the rumors or my possession of a superior intellect (it’s okay – you can laugh now) so I had to stop telling that one. My favorite reason for not sleeping was that I was exploring polyphasic sleep. Till I read this: An example of polyphasic sleep is found in patients with Irregular Sleep-Wake Pattern, which may be caused by dementia.

Well. That’s not very nice. I DO NOT have an irregular sleep-wake pattern. In fact, I have a fairly regular sleep-wake pattern. I sleep four hours. Last night I went to bed at ten and woke at two. Very predictable. Very regular. Very not demented. People worry themselves over my lack of sleep anyway. I rarely admit to being tired during the day. Invariably someone will suggest I go to bed at night. As if that would help. I get advice on teas to drink, pills to take, livestock to count. Take a relaxing bath. Drink warm wine. Lie on your stomach. I get emails in the middle of the night saying “Go back to bed!”

They are missing the point. I’m not tired.

Here’s what I tell people now. “So my circadian rhythm doesn’t look like yours. Get over it.” No one likes to look prejudiced. Or have to ask what a circadian rhythm is.

Anyway. (It’s early. Imagine a clever segue here.) I got the sweetest sleep deprived message ever to grace my inbox on Sunday. An apology for having sent me a song about myself. And it is about me. I’m convinced. It’s an old song – 1983! But I wasn’t sleeping much in 1983 either. I remember thinking “How did they know? How could anyone know so much about me? We must be kindred spirits. This song is so obviously about me. This must mean something. I have to meet this Australian man with such beautiful words to describe my angst, my self… I’ll write to him!” And so I did. And so did thousands upon thousands of other girls, insomniacs or not, I am sure. Girls are silly that way. He never wrote back.

I still love the song. I should have just posted the lyrics the other day instead of my long, rambling nonsense about thinking too much. It captures the thoughts of the thirteen year old me roaming through silent, shadowy rooms as well as the thirty-seven year old me sitting here pecking away at keys in the dark. Thank you, Kim.

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