Insomnia: Traffic of the Mind

I find myself wide, wide awake at 2:41am. The past two weeks on Prince Edward Island have left me with many things to consider and reflect upon, but frankly I would rather just be able to sleep tonight.  Countless thoughts move through my brain at lightning speed in formations that attempt to co-ordinate with what will need to happen tomorrow, the next day, the next week and onto the March Break so that life moves seamlessly; so that I will be prepared for the occasional pedestrian not waiting for the light before he crosses.

My brain roams over the endless landscape where buffalo, personal goals, professional obligations and human desires roam. There are no antelope who play here.   I consider ways to make ends meet, ideas to catalyze change and wonder what be discovered with another hour of close inspection. None of this matters at 2:41am, as I can enact zero changes at this hour, but my brain cares little for such triviality because it knows that tomorrow is an “on” day; my brain wants to be on now.

Please do not tell my brain to relax. Do not tell it to meditate. Do not dare expect me to fall asleep in a few minutes of stillness, because it just won’t happen on my brain’s watch. Like a puppy with the crazies, my brain wants to run helter-skelter with reckless abandon through the household of my past and future. The present need for sleep is superfluous compared to what I did fifteen years ago or what I might do in six days if just the right conditions wander along.

Tonight I am amused at the predicament, if only because I really don’t have to get up early tomorrow. It would be nice, but it is not necessary to get up early until Friday morning when I need to catch the 6am flight to Montreal. Montreal is another island that I love dearly, but that is of no concern tonight, unless of course my insomnia takes me back to bowling alleys where we stole a gravy jug, to the bar were Kevin stole a cow’s skull one wintry night or that martini bar where we stole giant martini glasses on the hottest night of that summer. My brain could go on…

I do wonder whether my old age will end with such a symphony of memories strung out along tethers so faint that only a cat could trace them out with the tips of his sharpest nail. Can the culmination of our lives be anything more that the moments we sneak out while no one at the bar is paying attention? Is it better to go home early with our dignity intact or to straggle on the dance floor until last call is followed by a request by all involved to leave? Are these the types of questions Macbeth asked when he is forced awake by his “heat oppress’d brain”? I suppose these are the questions that “are now the two hours traffic of our stage.”  Time will tell, and time is still on my side.

I might have a stiff drink, but that would only serve to set the motion into a lopsided free for all wherein my brain would frantically attempt to make ridiculous connections in a sloppy manner. Sobriety is the only way to drive, I am afraid. Anyway, the breeze is fine, the tunes are oldies but goodies, and time is on my side until the morning comes…and the morning always comes.

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2 responses to “Insomnia: Traffic of the Mind

  1. Poignant introspection… Can the culmination of our lives be anything more than the moments we sneak out while no one at the bar is paying attention? (YES, exponentially!)
    Is it better to go home early with our dignity intact or to straggle on the dance floor until last call is followed by a request by all involved to leave? (Depends on who is defining dignity as it has become one of those terms where connotation makes all the difference – and why would anyone want to leave while the dance is still in progress? Albeit the music is fading, it still plays – not only could one could miss the bits of residual joy but others would miss out too, whether watching from the sidelines or participating in the dance.)
    Are these the types of questions Macbeth asked when he is forced awake by his “heat oppress’d brain”? (Ha, who would know the mind of Macbeth, except God?)
    I think these kinds of questions are asked by most people at different stages of life in different ways. It is how we settle those questions and make peace with what was and what is that readies us for what could be.

    I was hoping to have tea with you this trip around – if you don’t have time this evening, maybe next time?

    • Yes, it was too bad that we never met up, Gloria. I had intended on it, but the horrible flu wiped me out for 5 whole days, and the best I could muster was a brief outing here and there.

      As to my introspection, I would muse that the both the questions and the answers could only ever be rhetorical since we never could understand the world around us beyond the brief perspective we are permitted. No human ever truly transcends into the omniscient – that is a journey for another being. However,
      I might offer that God abandons Macbeth and cares little for what happens to the character’s mind ever afterwards. Still, Shakespeare wrote outside of a orthodox religiousity, so it does become moot, I suppose.

      For my own part…I was just glad to come home for a few weeks and have been given the time and space to think, to sleep.

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