Company, have you ever had one of those nights when you just can't sleep because your brain just won't turn off? Like, your body is tired, your eyes want to be closed and you systems are shutting down and everything says "sleep, sleep, sleep" but your brain just won't turn off - it's going a mile a minute like a gerbil on one of those little exercise wheels who has just been given Red Bull in their bottle instead of water. Well, I was having one of those nights last night and I discovered that it is amazing what goes through one's mind while in that state.
First of all, I probably could have made it into sleep if I had really concentrated on it; the opportunity was there. But it passed and so I turned, rather unexpectedly, to an old way of falling asleep that I haven't tried in a long, long time, probably since before I moved the Worldwide Headquarters not this last time but the time before that. What I did was a time-honored method from my youth. I am going to share it with you now even though I know you will make fun of me later. That's okay, I can handle it. What I always used to do in order to try and fall asleep was to put on my CD player (now, read iPod) and listen to music, and I try to envision in my head what music video I would make for that song. I know, it sounds lame, but it is largely successful because it makes you focus on one thing and sort of lets ones excessive brain energy and creativity be put to work, and usually I would be asleep withing a half hour. Not so tonight, however. I put it on and started with some songs and it only compounded the problem.
See, for me, memories and people and events are often connected to music, and so as I started to envision the music videos for all these songs that were streaming through my headphones, I found myself envisioning all the same music videos that I did all those years and all those places ago. I saw the old places and all the old faces and suddenly I was on this train of thought that began to run away from me and get out of control very, very quickly.
First, I very suddenly and very deeply longed for the places and the things. I saw the beach that we used to go to to swim when I was in high school, which doesn't look the same and is impossibly crowded now, but there it was just like it used to be. Then I saw all my friends around one of our legendary in our own minds bonfires out in the woods to the bars to the football games to this and to that, at a million miles an hour through all the places and all their assorted faces. And I missed it all. So my thoughts turned to home, and how I was going to be there too, and how I wanted to call up my old friends from high school who are in the area and just have a drink or two and catch up.
That is when it struck me very heavily and very finally that I was grown up. That old impulse to go out and do things and make a night of it all wasn't gone, no, it most certainly is not, but it's definitely not lying as close to the surface as it used to be. Now I am here, looking forward to planting myself on a bar stool and drinking a liquor slowly on the rocks while chatting and catching up that five years ago I would have pounded while mixed with cola and trying to score. So sad. That came running though my head and that was it. I had to stop. I gave in, I got up, I turned on a light or two, I just admitted it. It's sad, but that is where my train was leading and I can't even imagine where it would have led next.
That, Company, is the scary thing about the temporary insomnia. It's kind of like Plinko on the Price is Right - you never know what path it is going to take and where you will end up. Tonight I could have ended up on the Mexican War, mentally balancing my checkbook, trying to remember the order of the streets in a town I don't live in anymore, explaining to myself why you should put mayo on a sandwich, or thinking way too much about who to pick in this weekend's NFL games. But no, tonight I was cursed with a sort of version of This Is Your Life, and I liked what I saw but was sad to have been seeing it in that context. Because I want to go back to that stuff so badly but I am old enough to know not to try because I wouldn't be the same. So I guess what I need to do is go ahead and make new memories in a new, sort of grown up way. Wow, I am glad that I have that all figured out. Now, if I could only get some sleep out of this whole deal...