ZZZZZZZT! A jarring electronic alert shocks me awake. I check the clock. 11:15. I am not pleased. I’d fallen asleep naturally, without Ambien or meditative deep breaths, maybe twenty minutes ago, a rare pleasure, and this buzzed announcement of a text on Dave’s phone totally pisses me off.
We are in Rhode Island and it is our first night on vacation. The summer awaits, open before us, beckoning, brimming with promise. I lie wide-eyed on my pillow reviewing my blessings, seeking to quell an abundance of blame with no real targets. Breathe. Breathe. Relish the moment. Dave snores softly beside me. Sound asleep. Of course.
Really. Damn phone. I could go on such a tear. An image flares to mind of our trip up and passing glimpses of too many drivers with heads bent and thumbs tapping. I’m particularly impressed by the variation where the phone is propped on the wheel to allow texting while maintaining a view of the road. And what of Monday night, post-pilates class? Out with Dave for a quick drink and quesadillas amid couples fixated on the phones in their hands instead of each other. Honestly.
Focus on your breath, Lea. Let it go. You can control only your own behavior; not that of others.
What’s the time? 1:30. Maybe I drifted off. I get out of bed and go to the bathroom. Back to bed. It’s hot. Up again. Fumble in a drawer for a short-sleeved tee-shirt. Change shirts. Trudge to the fan in the window. Push the button. Nothing. Feel for the cord behind the fan. Run fingers down the cord to the plug. Slide hand over the wall to find outlet. Feel the outlet for slots. Fleeting thoughts of electrocution as I stick my fingernails into the slots while trying to position the plug. Success. Switch on fan. Back to bed. Slip under covers.
Rats. Cold now. Sigh.
Time? 3:30. Chilly. What if Mom and Rita arrive tomorrow and close all the windows and blast the air conditioner? I hate air conditioning. Summer’s all about open windows, breeze-blown rose scent, and birdsong. For heaven’s sake, Lea. Stay in the moment! Focus on your breath! My exhortations increasingly chide more than soothe.
Time? 4:14. Too late for Ambien. I’m screwed. No more sleep tonight.
Dependable as an alarm clock, a lone bird greets the rising sun with a spiraling trill. A purple-pink blush touches the sky. Dave stirs and opens his eyes. We smile at each other and he says, “Hmmm. Fan’s on. Did you get up?”
I fill him in on my mental meandering and he says, “Let me bore you back to sleep.” In a barely audible monotone, he mumbles a fake dream recital, no less halting and disconnected than the real thing. “And then there was this path? It went into the woods. Well, they were sort of like woods. But not really. And the path went down? I think it went down. And then to the left a little? Maybe it went right. Not sure. It was weird, but not that unusual.”
And then we crack up. The bed shakes with our laughter because he might as well have been following my mental trail of cell phones and air conditioning.
Time? 6:41. And we’ve already had eggs and a second cup of coffee. The sun is up, the lone bird has been joined by a chorus of cheery companions, and I’m not tired at all.