Sunday, May 24, 2009

Night and Day in Berlin

I've been awake since 4 a.m., and for a long time I lay in bed listening to the birds and thinking about blog posts I have been meaning to write for a while, like one called Grounded in Work, and that was going to be all about how I really don't mean Drownded in Work but how wonderful it is to have work, pressing work, work with a deadline, even if it's also oppressive and confining and stifling and takes time which is desperately needed (wanted?) for other things.

But in fact it's starting to feel a little more like Drownded in Work than Grounded in Work since I first thought about writing that blog post, so we'll come back to that in a minute.

So this morning I was lying there in bed and there was no light coming through our dark, dark curtains but the birds were going nuts. I was in my mind trying to make a visual equivalent to what I was hearing: it was as though the birds with their chirps and cheeps and tweets and twitters were all scrambling to claw their way out of some landslide they were tumbling down together: it was really like that, the songs were all climbing on top of each other. (The spousal snoring which is otherwise sometimes [ok, often] an issue was actually reduced to insignificance by the birdly competition!)

And I thought, what will it take to get some sleep? If I close the window, which is what I tried the previous morning, then it becomes stifling in the room, and sleep is impossible because breathing tends to be necessary for sleep, I am finding. 

I did in fact lie in bed and try the fantastic anti-insomnia exercise that has been my very own since I was eleven and big sister Ruthy and I flew from Strasbourg to New York City alone together to get picked up by Aunt Peggy and her family - there was a lot of jumping up and down when we all greeted each other in my memory, and at night trying to fall asleep I would lie there and imagine our heads as bouncing balls bouncing, bouncing, bouncing . . . and then the bouncing balls got more and more abstracted and less headlike and I started bouncing them against the wall and then back against the wall again as they bounced back, and over and over . . . eventually this usually got me to sleep. I'm not sure how effective it is for me these days. Didn't do anything for me this morning.

Did I mention I'm kind of grounded/drownded in work? So of course I was also lying there worrying about things, about getting things done, and as I said also thinking about blogging, so finally I got up and did the happy-making little computer check (e-mail? yes, hooray, hubby sent me a few messages last night before he went to bed; sure they're mostly logistical, like about stuff for the taxes and people we're trying to have over, but still: I receive e-mail, therefore I am alive! / and better yet: Scrabble plays? yes! hooray, my Scrabble buddy has returned from her weekend mostly away from the internet, and played a move in each of our five games, so I got to make my moves in those games after studying the board and looking at my options [I've been trying to do a little triage on the time I spend on those and if she's way ahead not to kill myself too much, and if I'm way ahead likewise (if you're reading this, Susan, forgive me: but also read on because it's so not true), but it's hard to maintain that: anyway, if I'm way ahead she sometimes still plays a killer move and then so much for being way ahead, and if she's way ahead there's sometimes a chance - so I try to stare at the letters and the board for a while and look away and let it sink into my unconscious and hope that I can get somewhere and pull out a fabulous word and/or score without spending all day on it] - anyway, those were very nice beginnings to my oh-so-early-beginning day, and then I read the New York Times online a little while [Susan Boyle! Man pushes Suicide Waffler off Bridge in China! (oh: maybe that was the Huffington Post) - and a story about a man's younger brother who is profoundly autistic and is now 42 and his diminishing options, and for some reasons various articles in the business section] )- and now as you see I got through all those electronic things and came out the other side to write this blog, and then it's breakfast, groceries, and then I will go get grounded in work.

Actually doing the work is always better than worrying about it. Always. Actually doing anything is better than worrying about it, actually, I think, which is why I finally got out of bed at 4:45 even though I really wanted to have gotten my sleep; it wasn't coming, so I got up. Now it's 6:35 and completely light out and the birds have segued to a very different set of noises: completely quiet for moments and then only one bird or kind of bird, close by, doing an almost insectlike high-pitched cheetering, then the highway traffic a ways away, and in the far background, intermittently, a lower half-cooing.

Oh, before I let you go to your own morning, I have to tell about last night, sitting here having a very pleasant evening with Felix, reading together - all of a sudden there was a sound and it was not filtering through to my verbal brain but I was aware of it, and then I asked him to hush for a minute, and he did, and I said that was a cuckoo, and he looked at me in amazement, and he said is that a real bird? and I said yes, and he said he thought it was a cuckoo clock, and we listened again and after having been insistently rhythmic for a short time it was stopped. So now I'm wondering two things: 1. did he not know that a cuckoo was a real bird period, which is what I was first thinking he meant, or did he just mean he thought what we were hearing was a cuckoo clock? // and 2. was it maybe a cuckoo clock? 

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