Monday, April 16, 2012

Sudden Clouds

It's Monday, I'm home, on a very much un-planned sick day from work.
The weather in Toronto cannot decide what it wants to do, clouds/sun/cloudy-sun.  Birds swooping to find cover one minute, chirping away the next. I observe all this from inside my loft, staring dreamily, a Benilyn-induced dream-state, out the window into the courtyard-parking lot that is my view.
My Sunday evening ended with alot of hot tea, bad tv, and reading the novel by Kate Furnivall I came close to finishing last night, before falling into a deep-dreamland-tea-sleep, one that has the seeming power to manipulate dreams while one is trying to rest.
Last night it was all about work--my workplace the certainty, its location and figures the uncertain part. There was a threat of danger, unseen, unrecognized, a commonality to most nightmares. Of things not being what they seemed. The dream seemed to last hours. Probably it only lasted a handful of minutes.

I shock blearily awake, smacking my clock radio to silence its insinuating melodies of 'time to get up'. I hit the snooze button again, blindly, not looking, my eyes unopened. It was then that I realized the sound was not coming from my clock radio but from my cell phone, plugged in and charging beside my bed, on my bookshelf, right beside my clock radio--hence my confusion. I paw towards the phone, anything to stop the noise, then panic hits as I try to check the display and answer, wondering, as you only wonder at that hour of the night/morning, what has gone horribly wrong that someone is calling you at this hour.

The cellphone's lit-up display: UNKNOWN CALLER.
In my sleep-addled, dream-shocked state, I am still awake enough to be furious and I almost take that fury out on the phone. WHO does that? I convince myself of the randomness of wrong numbers in this digital-call-display era (I don't believe this for one second) and absolve the person who dialled me by mistake in the middle of the Sunday night sleep, the one I have the hardest time staying asleep in. Alternately, there is a short list that may have deliberately called out of some fiendish need to talk to me and to those I say: drop me an email if there is something burning you up at 4:30 am. The call also, in my quirky-alone (I correct: quirky-married) state, scared me. If Mike were here, I would have simply gotten up, collected him from the couch, and told him this tale, settled back down, and thought nothing more about it. But he's not here. In the darkness it was just me, the now-silent cell, and my now-active thoughts. F*ck.

I turned on the light, opened the Kate Furnivall book, and read until 6am. It didn't do much good for my perpetually leaking nose, my dry, irritated throat, and it pretty much cinched my decision to not go to work today, to stay home and recover instead. Truth be told, work, whirlwind that it has been lately, with my inability to delegate, discipline, and engage with my team is taking its toll. As are far too many last-minute deadlines (one of which popped up today, as I drift in and out of sleep on the couch, curled up under the striped comforter, tea close at hand, kleenexes being clutched. My boss needed to call me to tell me about this latest one. All in all, not the greatest way to spend a 'Benilyn' day, alternately sweating and shivering, exuding a zen-like calm one minute, heart-jangling anxiety the next).
But there's nothing I can do today except lie here and let the world gallop on without me for a few more hours.
Tomorrow, messes will be cleaned up and deadlines will (hopefully) be met. More will crop up.
My energy level will, (hopefully) return to normal (where and what normal is I've completely misplaced) and I'll be able to put out the fires.
Today I watch the sun struggle with the clouds and feel its (my) frustration. Just rain already. The sky has been darkening for hours. Let me sleep lightly while thunder growls intermittently.

My sister told me I have to start putting my phone on silent or turning it off when I sleep. But doing that worries me. What if someone needs to reach me in the night, an emergency, a real one, something that won't wait? It's those thoughts that keep me from turning off the phone.

I reach for more tea, for the Julia Cameron book I am now reading on creativity. It talks about the now-famous "Morning Pages" as extolled in her book, The Artist's Way.  My friend L. does morning pages religiously. I have trouble. As someone for whom every minute in the morning is a race against the clock, I have trouble imagining myself between that state of half-awake and wanting badly to be back-asleep coming up with brilliant utterances about the seeming inanity of my life. I was reading some of the examples in the book, and they did seem too follow along those lines, how it might seem like your stream-of-consciousness might be pulling you down the same road every  morning: I'm tired, mornings suck (for those of us who wake up perpetually unhappy to be awake. AGAIN); I'm out of coffee, it's too hot in here, who called me in the middle of the night and disturbed me so, work's going to be busy today, I have a meeting at ten, what is the traffic like I wonder, do I wear boots or shoes today is that black shirt clean?
That kind of thing. I'm not unwilling to try it, and I'm sure with the level of successful results it seems to foster, there are nuggets you can reach in that vein of thinking in that hour of first awakening. Cameron likens it to a type of meditation, one we need in our 'frenzied' Western world. Ok, I say. I'll try it in the fawn-lark journal, bleary-eyed and scrawling.
I guess this blog entry is like a morning page. Even though it's late afternoon, I've been stuck between sleep and wake all day. Soup, tea, crackers, honey, lemon, gingerale.  All those things as one who lives alone I know I must keep on hand, pantry-ed away, for that day when I am sick and unwilling to go out and get anything, because it would involve leaving the house. Why why why can't Mike and I live together and have it all be simple? The immigration forms gnaw at me too. They remind me, eerily, of tax time. Of other forms that make no sense and that I can't figure out. But I must.

I checked  my email with the typical boredom, but a well-thought-out missive from an old friend had arrived, detailing thoughts about a childless life, of how that happens, and thoughts on my blog, the spreading of my father's ashes, the sadness that accompanied it. I read and I time-travel. Back in time to where I was when I knew my friend, how young we were, how impossibly fast the last fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years went by. How fast the time goes as you build your future, never stopping to realize, at the mid-point, you're living your future, or rather, it's living you. I had already started living my future in 2007, with home-ownership, some long-set, forgotten goal, one I despaired of ever reaching. But here I am, five years into a mortgage. See? It's living me.  I emailed my friend back. Again, a thoughtful reponse for a thoughtful message. My friend is a good writer, I'm not sure if he realizes that.  He gets alot of information down in a scant few paragraphs, and for both our messages, there's alot of unsaid in those lines.
I digress.
It's a sick-day Monday, a throw-away day, as Mike calls this type of day, I won't breathe fresh air, I won't be going outside, I'm not engaging with the outer world. But it's okay. It's these types of days that give you the armour and ammunition for the other types.
I'm sappy, I'm tired, I'm teary after finishing the Kate Furnivall book where the heroine loses her father despite her efforts to save him. His letters to her before this telling her that she is his life, she is living it, to do something worthwhile with it. I tripped over those words a few times. After all it's a cloudy-pale sun spring day, much like that one in June, and things are as confusing as ever. They might be more tangible, and alot of tasks have been completed: moving my mom, that last tax return to close out the estate of someone who is "late", the donating of clean clothes to people who need them and will use them.  But my apartment still bears wisps of dust, nothing has been moved around, nothing is out of place. But, as I emailed my friend this week, I can't say I'm the same inside. Everything feels different. The spring maybe, is just a more candid reminder of this, of the approaching year-mark, of the rebellion of my mind (I haven't talked to my dad in ten months, how did this happen?) and a sense of unreality of all I have done and completed, washed up against all of what I see--the things I didn't get to do, haven't finished.
The sorry regret of them all.

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