A dark thought, then a laugh. A really dark thought. Addiction.
To the jolly, convivial, comforting familiar, enabling, ritual of coffee and its amazing power to shrug off the guilt and remorse that cling to other lovely consumables.
As substance abuse side effects go, insomnia is an interesting cookie to crumble.
Let me convert you. Let me suggest that taking
an opposite view, just for fun, will yield something of value. Let me suggest that what seems bad may be good.
In the spirit of things not being as they seem: is a night’s sleep of an uninterrupted 8 hours absolutely the best and only sleep pattern for us? The World Service reported a while back on the loss (I heard the programme during the night of course) of a ‘two sleeps’ pattern that had been common until the late 17th century. Imagine. No panic. Permission not to agonise. Just wake up after 3 or 4 hours, have a potter about, write a bit of a diary, chat to the family and then back for another little sleep.
Or in today’s world, send those texts that were bothering you, find that address you were looking for, watch that bit of The Bridge you missed and then just shimmy back to bed. It’s all here for you:
So many possibilities when a familiar truth is reframed: just by embracing an opposite viewpoint, just by letting a dark thing be a light thing.
An undreamed of benefit of staying awake in the middle of the night- this between sleeps time- is the changed quality of experience. It is not just the pleasure of the radio, but its heightened weirdness as the brain chunters along on over-drive. Insomnia delivers a Through the Looking Glass vividness to sound in the middle of the night.
I’ll share an example of an unexpected gift. This nighttime joke changed the following day beautifully. It encouraged me do the precise opposite of what was expected, to swap goods and bads, to zig not zag, and be in a generally contrarian place the whole jolly day. It was wonderful, productive and a great creativity boost.
Radio 4 Extra was whispering that night: Lord Peter Wimsy, Wilkie Collins, Mark Gatiss all danced through the small hours.
And then – a familiar voice.
Was it a trailer? What was happening? An unfamiliar sketch was rumbling along. Eric was apparently pretending, as he impressed another character, to belong to a local church.
The lie got bigger. Perhaps he was actually … the Vicar?
Then a challenge:
“But I don’t recall seeing you there on Sundays”
And our lovely Eric made the heroically contrarian response-
“ Oh, I tend to go on Saturdays: fewer people”.
And if that isn’t a little light coming out of some darkness and worth a sleepless night or two, I don’t know what is.