At one I wake up and look at the clock to discover it’s one. One is a damnable time to be awake when I want to be asleep, but then again, is there ever a time anyone has wanted sleep and that time not been damnable? Sleep escapes me. It flees from me like a first date who just discovered the man her best friend set her up with thinks dental hygiene is a tool of Satan. It flees from me like a little kid who has just tossed a baseball through the bedroom window while mom and dad were planning more kids. Sleep flees from me as if it were some drug were I to take too much, I might be cured of weird analogies.
The drugs are there but I do not take them. At one the very best I can hope for is to get another three hours, nearly four maybe, and I cannot go to work stoned. It’s a never ending cycle for some people; drugs to help them sleep and drugs to keep them awake because they take drugs to make them sleep. I have a meeting at ten, which is nine hours away, and I wonder what I’ll be like when the people I am meeting with show up. The disconnect button was left on earlier in the day and I fear the correlation I am now forming in my brain in regard to that button.
I went to the grocery store and it seemed like I was always in someone’s way, or they were in my way, and if I stopped someone else stopped behind me, peering over my shoulder, looking past me as if I had just blocked vital food supplies, or someone stopped in front of me, and they were blocking vital food supplies. I was disconnected from the hive mind, that thing someone and I were talking about Saturday over tea.
The theory is that people in the city or people in general when they’re thrown together in a public place, will subconsciously develop a set of rules for traveling past one another, and around one another. This theory does not, I repeat does not, apply to people in cars in traffic. See! The cars give people a sense of disconnect so it doesn’t work in traffic. I have that sort of shell around me sometimes, and I think people realize it. The disconnect button gets pushed and suddenly some eighty year old woman cuts me off at the cashier with a snarl. She’s pumped on Geritol and got a fresh set of Depends on. She’s got her AARP card out and this woman is getting a discount on something, now, dammit.
This makes sense, you know. No, not about the Geritol but that too might be true. Some of us do not play well with others and it’s not like people drift back and forth in between the two groups. Maybe some camouflage better than others do, but in the grocery store I feel my grip on sanity begin to fade as people keep getting in my way, or I in their way. Could the theory be working, and one part of the theory is some of us simply do not get it? Could there be people who cannot slip into the V of the flock? You’ve seen those schools of fish where they all turn at the same time? This works because larger fish can’t single any one of them out, and if there is a disconnected fish, that is the one who gets eaten by the mackerel. That’s what’s going on in the middle of the grocery store; these people want me to be mackerel bait for the betterment of the species. The herd animals leave me to stare off into space as the lions are watching and waiting for some genetic anomaly to kick in and leave some cat food on the plains of the Serengeti.
It’s two by the time I finish that last sentence and I wonder why I bother to go to bed at all. The dogs couldn’t live with a normal person, I am certain of that. I wonder if they wonder if their human isn’t in some way damaged, or deranged. I don’t yell at them or hit them, but I wonder if they can feel that disconnect that I have with people, and I wonder if they attend to me so because they realize they are my only hope for a family of my own.
That, too, is part of it. I never wanted a human family of my own the way some people do. I knew a woman who lay on the ground and cried like a child when her pregnancy test was negative. She wanted a child so badly I think she would have stolen one if she and her husband had not finally conceived. I’ve never gotten that either, never had the urge to procreate, and I have never understood those people who have.
At three I give up on sleep, and I give up on this. I’ll finish it much later, but now I’m going to feed the mutts and get ready for what promises to be a very long day. The coffee pot’s automatic timer kicks in and Lucas wants out. They are trained to get up when the timer goes off even if they’ve been up with me for hours. I have to wonder how much like me they are when they do this, and I’m running on autopilot, certainly, but to what degree?
Almost nineteen hours after it begun, this comes to a close. What is this? Why is it? How many other people write disconnected essays late at night and wonder why they cannot sleep? Why am I not falling down to rest instead of trying to make the last part of this, whatever it is, make some sort of sense? Is that what I get instead of sleep, free passage in Aisle Three, and 2.7 kids? I feel very disconnected right now from everything human, except for this.