Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Letter to My Best Friend

("The Genius of Insomnia")

I blame the New York Times for my insomnia. In fact, you have printed this very thought of mine in your paper (online, and behind some kind of wall of fire I believe, but still...). But let me tell the true story behind that story.

Insomnia became my companion around my 55th birthday I think. About a decade ago. And my prostate, not your newspaper, was the actual catalyst. "Early to bed and early to rise." Somewhere towards the back end of that thought is the word wise. If that is true, then call me brilliant.

Tonight, I began reading the article to which I now respond at 1:23 A.M. I had been awakened out of my sleep but a few minutes earlier. I recall the last moments of the dream that preceded my present state. It had to do with skiing down a trail that my local mountain had not yet opened. But let me not digress...

As with every other night, I seem to open my eyes and my brain, fully and completely, when the universe resides in the darkest of darks. As ready to begin my tasks as you would be after you had finished that second cup of morning java. I do not head to the bathroom in a semi conscious stupor, but rather as if all the lights in my head (for whatever limited brightness they may project) were on at full illumination.

Only it is not the morn and the rest of the sane universe, except for one friend who never seems to sleep, is doing exactly what it does best at this ungodly hour. And thus, unless I want to begin a conversation over a series of tubes with the only other living being I know who is awake  (not that there would be anything wrong with doing this), I am left to my own thoughts. That is, until your newspaper comes to the rescue.

My wife says she is going to make me plug my cell phone in downstairs. That way it would not be available at the end of my fingertips and sleep, not the latest nightmare starring Donald Trump, would be the default choice when I return from my journey of saying hello to the bathroom.

I don't want to turn on the TV for fear it will awaken the woman who has slept next to me for over four decades (yes, that is my wife, for all of you who have less than pure thoughts). And trust me, that would not be a good thing. She is exhausted from a full day of taking care of an incompetent, me. But that, as they say, is a story for another day.

And so, I turn to you, the New York Times, my most trusted buddy. I know you are there just waiting to enter into a deep and meaningful discussion with me. Well, you may not know it, but I will be certain to advise you of my presence. Ready or not. Here I come.

This brings me to my letter writing, which was the whole point of this now far too long response to the article referenced at the top of this peregrination, your words the precipitating factor for the myriad phrases you are presently perusing (hopefully).

Sorry, where was I? I had to interrupt my thoughts for a second trip to visit the room where my tooth brush etc are housed, but I am back now.  Oh yes, "you are presently perusing (hopefully)."

You are my outlet, my release. And so, for this last decade we have walked arm in arm, or more precisely thought by thought, through my sleepless nights. First you tell me what is on your mind. And then I regurgitate anything and almost everything I can think of (I know, I should not end a sentence with something dangling, but it is now approaching 3 AM, so cut me some slack).

It has actually been one of the best friendships of my life. You educate me and then I get to bore you. You spread the world out before me and I get to tell you which corner of my head has synapses firing. You are my yin and I am your annoying friend. A perfect synergy.

So back to that wall of fire. It seems that I have bothered you so often with my insomniac driven contemplations to have made your best of the best list of the many (or at least more than a couple) who regularly bombard you with precise and prescient prognostications for the future of mankind (or more accurately, a very brief synopsis of current thoughts). And thus, in response to your inquiry to me about what being a prolific (in relative terms) contributor to your letters to the editor has meant, I replied with a brief and pithy retort, "insomnia".

But, alas, it was a lie. For you are not the cause, but the result, in this equation.

So what has insomnia brought me? The results, sadly, are before you. A clarity of purpose? A melding of mind and body? An insight into the true workings of this maddeningly plot of land upon which we hold onto for dear life? No, merely a very strange relationship with my one and only friend in the literal darkest of times. You, the New York Times. 

Can you turn out the light in the bathroom. I forgot to on my last trip. Thanks. You are indeed a good friend.


Harvey F Leeds said...

Good morning-good night!

Anonymous said...

It's 5:36 and I am reading this. Time zone changes make me understand your plight.


Anonymous said...

Sorry I missed your blog three hours ago, but I was busy watching the overnight news. You’re not alone in the wee hours. Fortunately for me, the bathroom is your problem, not mine.


We are happy to be the beneficiaries of your friendship!