Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cell Phone Sleepless

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. 

Damn phone.

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.  



Anonymous said...

Fumbling around on the internet and I see something about sleep and NO Ambien. So, figuring, what the heck, I click on it, thinking, no one can be more depressed over lost sleep than me. What I did NOT expect was to laugh. A knowing laugh that can only happen when you have been there too. Thank you, Ms. Sylvestro. You are a wonderful writer, taking me, and I suppose many others, on great and warm and funny excursions into your life. What a joy to have found you. And wandering around your posts, enjoying every one of them, falling in love with you and your wonderful Dave. Now that I have discovered a secret garden, I will be back again and again.

tootsielala55 said...

Wasn't that wonderful, Lea? What a great story. As always you bring us right there to THAT now, that moment in the most artful way. And how terrific others are finding you all on their own. isn't that awesome? I so look forward to buying your book and a copy for every friend I have. Both of them... You ARE the best!

Joanie said...

How have you so perfectly captured the voice in MY head on any given night!? Isn't is amazing how everything you can think of during the wee hours is always at the incredulous level....All thoughts go to "Can you believe that/ I'm so pissed off/ Really?!" on loop! Thanks for affirming that I'm not alone on this one, Lea.

Janice said...

Well, this totally caught my eye having spent what felt like an eternity wide awake last night, trying to think peaceful and positive thoughts without much success. It's SO nice to know there's a community of us wee hour ruminators and thank you for so eloquently putting this experience into words. As well as the dawn of the next day, and the sunshine and the ability to put it into perspective! Thanks for creating this wonderful camaraderie of feelings again and again!

Laurie said...

Oh Lea, we've all had those sleepless nights. But you manage to find some good from it, especially in that first bird trill of the morning. Love that sound.