Deirdre Reilly: I desperately need sleep, but the ‘Cold Case’ crew needs me
I have had an ongoing case of insomnia for about the past week or so, and it’s really starting to get to me. I’m tired.
This morning I made a turkey and peanut butter sandwich for my puzzled 8-year-old to pack in his lunch bag, and while everyone was trying to get out the door yesterday morning, I found myself idly perusing a Sports Illustrated in the bathroom, bringing myself to tears over a girls hockey team. Something’s got to give – regular sleep is like the tides, I have decided. When tides are normal, the planet (family) runs as it should. Put a change into it though -- wind, explosion on the sea floor, sleep-deprivation – and you’ve got a catastrophic tsunami of a situation, and the planet (family) pays.
The evening always starts the same for me – namely, where it should end. My husband finishes up work on his computer, and we both sit exhausted on the couch and participate in a ritual as old and dear to couples as marriage itself: we make fun of the news anchors. As we lounge on the couch, here are some sentences you hear from us: “What is up with her hair,” “He looks like the guy from ‘Fargo’ – the crazy one,” or, “I can’t stand what she’s wearing.” It’s just not bedtime if we haven’t insulted someone – ourselves wearing old sweats and ratty old socks, hair a disheveled mess. Then my husband tries to get me to come up to bed, to get some decent rest. I decline; I need to be in position to watch the beginning of “Cold Case” on TNT; by now I consider myself one of the team, and I am worried they can’t solve the case without me.
After “Cold Case,” I like to wander around my house, rearranging trinkets and staring out the windows at all the homes on my street; the people inside are sleeping. I hate them. Then I drink a few glasses of water and re-read something I have taped on the fridge, under another taped slip of paper that reads “Reilly Inspiration of the Week.” This was an idea I came up with at 2 a.m. one morning; a story each week from the paper that focuses on the positive. Well, now it’s more like “Reilly Inspiration of the Month,” because I haven’t replaced it – I’m the only one who has read it, I think. When I’m really tired the next day, I point to the “Reilly Inspiration of the Week” and say accusingly to my boys and husband, “And why has no one read the “Reilly Inspiration of the Week?” Do we just not care about inspiration around here?” They look at each other as if to say, “Is this like the time we were going to eat a meal from a different culture every week, until she had to find snake meat?” And then they continue talking about sports.
I also send very inspiring e-mails in the middle of the night; very heart-felt. If you are on my e-mail list, chances are you will wake up to find a mess of forwards and “updates” from me, filled with smiley faces and winks. I e-mailed my own husband a heartfelt letter; he called me from the road, baffled. “Are you OK? And what is the poem you’re quoting: ‘the nexus and the lexus contain the quest of your tranquil and complacent eyes’?” I shrugged; that was 200 e-mails ago -- who knows what I meant. I feel for him, though; it’s hard to sell things with that on your back. “Can you bring home some more coffee?” is all I say.
I’ve tried to get to sleep; I’ve laid on the couch and counted sheep, I’ve read, I’ve listened to music. I tried to take a walk but got scared at the corner and came home. I’ve surprised college kids late at night, home from college break, with very interesting stories about how Dyan Cannon and Cary Grant met, while they smile in at me and shuffle their feet, dying to get up to their beds. I’ve tried to knit, I’ve cleaned, I’ve organized. The only thing I haven’t done is slept.
“Something is on your mind,” my mother said, long distance. “Figure out what it is.” I thought about this. What isn’t on my mind? Three sons, an economy in decline, a war, an election, global warming, the state of American cinema, PTA, NRA, CIA and on and on. My mom laughed. “Just handle your little corner of the earth for now,” she advised. “That’s enough.”
Tonight, I’m going to do just that – I’m going to try to handle just my little corner of the earth, for now. After I watch “Cold Case,” though; I can’t let the team down.
Contact Deirdre Reilly at www.exhaustedrapunzel.com.