Friday, April 20, 2012

So... How's the Writing Going?

Well. . . I'm in bed at ten.  I set the alarm for five am.  If I'm lucky, I'll have two hours to myself before Dylan gets up.  I wake up around midnight on my side, my hip in a pool of cold wetness, wondering if I've pissed myself.  My bladder is bursting so it's entirely possible.  But I wasn't drinking (and even at my most drunk I've never pissed the bed, I've just heard that's what happens, and that's the first bleary thought I have, I'm not even drunk), I wasn't dreaming that I couldn't find a toilet (which is what I dream about when I need to get up and pee in the middle of the night), and if I pissed the bed then why would I still be able to get up and pee?  But my bladder is sizable, so maybe I have enough storage capacity to piss the bed and still need to use the toilet.  Maybe this is just a surprise my body has unleashed as I approach forty.  Maybe all forty-year-old men start pissing the bed, but they're ashamed of it so no one talks about it; it's just something you discover alone, in the cold watches of the night.

The wetness is contained to my right hip, where I was lying.  That's weird.  Nothing across the front of my pajamas.  Also, it doesn't smell like pee.  Is it some kind of localized sweat?  Whatever, it's midnight and I need to get some sleep so I can get up and write in five hours.  I hang my pajama bottoms over the bed frame to dry, fold a t-shirt over the wet spot, and go back to sleep.

At one am, I'm wakened by Hugo Cabret.  No, the book didn't fall off a shelf and hit me.  We didn't fall asleep to the movie, and the noise suddenly got to me.  I'm talking about my cat, suckling.

During the day, suckling looks like this:
Teehee-teehee, stop that!
At one am, it looks like this:

What... the... fuck..?
It's wet.  It's loud.  It's bitey and claw-ey and sometimes it involves snuffling in the ear.  I'm a cat lover, so all of that's heaven... if I'm awake.  When I'm trying to sleep, it's a slice of fuzzy hell.  But what am I supposed to do?  It's not her fault the Humane Society weaned her too early.  And she's so very happy when she suckles.  When MiniMe used to try and wake me before the alarm, I had no problem tossing her across the room (relax; being a cat, she always landed on her feet).  But Hugo finds me in a netherworld where I'm not so much sleeping as dozing, so I can't find the heart to make her stop.  The suckling lasts for half an hour to forty minutes before she finally falls asleep.  Which is is good, because I've got to write in a few hours.

Three am, she tries to start that shit again.  I get smart and put the pillow over my head.  I doze off briefly, only to be wakened when she digs her way to my earlobe.  Her purring is epic, the loudest thing I've ever heard, the thundering of waterfalls, the crumbling of mountains.  I take the pillow away so she can reach my neck.

I've just sucked one night of your life away. How do you feel?
It's quieter, but I'm no closer to sleep.  She suckles until almost four, which means it's just over an hour before the alarm goes off, which means I start to worry about what will happen when the alarm goes off, which gives me a little burst of adrenaline, which means even though Hugo is out again I can't fall back asleep, simultaneously picturing myself doing pushups while I wait for the coffee to brew at five and worrying that I'll snooze the morning away and spend another day without writing.

When the alarm goes off at five am, it doesn't even register.  It's six thirty, the sun is rising, and consciousness feels like a sick joke.  Before I even realize what's happening, I've been hitting snooze for an hour and a half.  I could get up and do something for half an hour - a twitter update, a Facebook post, a brief blog, something - but there's a very real chance that any movement will wake Dylan.  I said I'd be lucky if being awake at seven garnered me two hours of writing.  Dylan sometimes wakes at 6:15, 6:30, 6:45.  What's the point?  I'll just get what pathetic few minutes of sleep that I can.

I hear him up at seven, playing with his toys.  Is he getting dressed?  Or will he need to be cajoled into it?  

Beside me, as she does every night, Becky sleeps the sleep of the embalmed.   

I force myself out of bed at seven twenty, giving me forty minutes to get Dylan fed, ready, and out the door with his lunch, his bookbag, and a pocket full of dreams. 

While Becky is getting dressed for work, I asked her to smell my pajama bottoms.  We've been married less than a year.  We love each-other and we're still getting to know where we fit together, but trying to get her to smell my sleep clothes with no explanation is something of a challenge.  I don't come out and say, "If you love me, you'll smell my pajama bottoms, no questions asked," because only an insane person would say that.  Instead, I imply it with my tone.  

"C'mon, smell my PJs.  It'll be fun."

She tells me they don't smell like anything, which is exactly what I thought, too.  She gives me a look that makes me wonder how many free passes I have into odd behavior.  But really, I've got all the passes I need.  That's the beauty of marriage.

After seeing Becky and Dylan off, I can take a good hour before it's time to get ready and bike to work.  If I can't get creative, I can at least blog about how I can't get creative, right?  But then I comment on someone else's blog, and click this link, and the next thing you know, the internet has me in her whorish clutches.  Two hours have rushed by and I haven't so much as written a tweet.  

I shower and dig through my clothes, hating them all.  Everything is wrinkled as shit, and I'm so late already that taking time to iron something would be even more ridiculous, but if I don't iron something I'm left with a t-shirt, and I'm getting too old and out of shape to wear a t-shirt, and if I'd gotten up on time I could have at least done some exercises while the coffee brewed, and if I was going to piss away two hours on the internet instead of writing I could have at least done some yoga, so now I'm fat, unpublished, bitter, and trying on outfits like it's an 80s movie and I'm the dorky lead trying to dress for my first date.

By the time I clock in at Books & Books, it's eleven am.  Now I'm lazy, unpublished, and my paycheck is for shit.  That's how the writing is going, thanks for asking. 

And the inability to answer that question honestly without making the asker feel like a shithead is the only thing getting me out of bed when the alarm sounds at five. 


  1. Somehow familiar - which is a bit sad considering how much energy someone your age should have. {Aye - and I'm no forgettin the bairn either!}

    Cheers AJC