There was a time I thought it impossibly cool to be able survive on little or no sleep. That I could glide, ghostlike, into the dark portals of my home over the small hours, content in the knowledge that lightweight recumbents lacking the requisite stamina could not manage the same. In much the same way as an ASBO, it was a badge of pride which would almost certainly be the envy of the idle. So at the beginning of this book campaign, when I was riding high on nervous energy, I welcomed it in. Brilliant, I thought, I’ll coast through the jobs and come out ahead of the game. I could not have been more wrong. You know something’s up when the crying starts:
- Postman delivers wine stain remover? Howl like a baby.
- Blurry online photo of Cecil the Lion? Howl like a baby.
- Builders below stop using circular saw for twenty seconds? Howl like a baby.
And that’s just the beginning. Next up comes the attention deficit, always handy when you’re multitasking:
Boil kettle / half complete to-do list / prepare for shower / remember kettle / make coffee half-dressed / ditto three lines of email / have shower / call someone / walk around park to clear head / remember email / check Facebook / quick cry / more coffee / check to-do list again / remember food / forget food / remember email / quick cry / go to bed.
The cruellest twist of the knife is that last bit. When you finally head up the hill, exhausted beyond language from your day of not quite achieving anything and discovering twenty different ways that sleep deprivation will see you off, you collapse into the welcoming tundra of the bedroom. But it is a Trojan Horse. Come stupid’o’clock (usually ten to something ridiculous like two or three), you find yourself bolt upright and worrying about that bloody email. So now there’s fat chance of getting back to Nod, yet somehow you have to fill up your time until the whole wretched shooting match starts all over again. And that’s when the chatting starts:
Me: Not sure how much more of this I can take.
Me: Me neither. It’s brutal.
Me: Sure is. What shall we do?
Me: Think anyone’s on Messenger?
Me: Doubt it. How about a bit of Facebook stalking?
Me: Yeah, why not?
(Two minutes later)
Me: Sod this. Let’s go for a walk.
Me: Too knackered.
Me: Book then?
Me: We’ll just end up reading the same sentence again and again. Like last night.
Me: Like that’s going to help.
Me: Well what do you suggest then, smartarse?
Me: How about trying to sleep?
Me: We’ve talked about this. But give it a try if you want. I’m off.
Me: Where to?
Me: Anywhere but here. You’re doing my head in, man.
Yes, it’s true. I’m doing my own head in. And there’ll be fisticuffs at dawn unless I sort something pretty soon. Just not sure which horse to back if I don’t.