That is to say, it shouldn’t be happening at the present moment. The clock on the computer says 3:41 a.m. My cell phone is in agreement. In just under four hours, I need to step out the door and make my way to the bus stop, and then put in eight hours at the Industrial Commission.
Yet here it is, with the hands of the clock nearing 4 a.m., and I am wide awake. I did go to bed just before midnight, but did nothing but lie there in the dark for hours. This is ironic, because with narcolepsy, it’s often a minute-to-minute struggle to prevent falling asleep, but try though I might, I couldn’t wind down enough. When I was in a child, my bedroom was situated in such a way that the cars passing by on 7th St. cast moving shadows along the opposite wall from my bed. It didn’t always work, but oftentimes that had a lulling effect on me, almost like counting sheep.
My current wakefulness may be because of a weekend of excess. From the late 1970s until Susie’s birth in 1997, weekends of excess were not unusual for me. This weekend, I overdid it on two things–walking and sleeping. (There are worse things, I’m sure, but I am having a hard time understanding that at this precise moment.)
I’ve been overdoing it on the walking partly because I was making up for lost time. It’s been too hot and too humid to walk for much of the summer, and the first day that the relative humidity was under 70%, I jumped at the chance, walking 5½ miles after work to Great Southern Shopping Center to pick up my new camera at Wal-Mart. Re-embracing walking also came as an attempt (not always successful) to shake off a bout of depression that has gripped me for much of the summer. One of the things I do when I’m on the “depressive” end of the bipolar pendulum is self-isolate. I’m not financially secure enough for the luxury of total agoraphobia, so I have managed to get out of the house to get to and from work each day. And at the end of the day, just doing that made me feel like I’ve donated a pint of blood.
I spent much of Friday night through Sunday morning pounding the pavement. I was out walking into the wee hours of Saturday morning, tumbling into bed as it was getting close to dawn. (Campus is quieter on weekend nights than it will be when OSU is in session, but there were still quite a few drunks out on High St.)
One thing I noticed while out walking around the bar patrons (and weaving through crowds of them on the sidewalks or at United Dairy Farmers) is the change in my attitude about seeing drinkers, and how radically it’s changed from when I first went off the sauce. I made several halfhearted attempts to quit drinking after I left Athens in 1989, but they never lasted more than a few months at best. I didn’t become a complete teetotaler until after Susie was born. For the first year or so, every time I passed a bar, saw people have a glass of wine with dinner, or even take Holy Communion (when I’d go with Steph to an Episcopal service; Episcopalians, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians use wine, and not grape juice, for Communion), a jealousy I didn’t even know was there would surface. Looking inside a bar made me feel like the diabetic kid with his nose pressed against the candy store window. I don’t feel that way anymore. And I haven’t developed the convert’s zeal that leads me to look down my nose at those who still imbibe. (I guess I could classify myself as straight edge these days, but my excessive caffeine consumption and the fact that I am an unapologetic carnivore would bump me from that culture in some circles.)
I burned quite a few calories walking (about 320 per hour at the pace I walk), but unfortunately I was too exhausted to go to Grandview in the morning for the matinee showing of The Terror. It would be weird to see Fritz the Nite Owl’s show by daylight, but this was the movie that Susie and I missed because the 5 bus, snagged in post-Comfest traffic, never came.
I wrote about retiring a pair of shoes and replacing them at Goodwill in my previous entry. Saturday, Scott and I walked around the area north of Lane Ave. and west of High St., but stopped a little short of Clintonville itself. My pedestrian urges were not 100% sated, so after he dropped me off at home, sometime around 11:30, I couldn’t concentrate on reading or writing, so I went out again.
Classes haven’t started at Ohio State, and the football season doesn’t start until September 3, so I wonder why the fires are already starting. Friday night-Saturday morning, someone on E. 11th Ave. set an old love seat on fire and threw it into the yard. Everyone seemed content to sit and watch it burn until the flames caused a wooden deck on the apartment next door to start smoldering. (All the lights were off in that apartment, so either everyone had gone to bed or no one was home.)
Early Sunday morning, I saw some smoke and an orange glow in one of the alleys just south of Lane Ave. I went over to see what was happening. A dumpster was burning. Three or four guys (and one woman) were standing in the alley; one had called 911, and the others were taking pictures of it with their iPhones. I have a cheap Motorola cell phone that can take about 20 seconds of footage at a time, so I turned it on and shot some pictures of the blaze before the firefighters arrived:
My guess is that someone set this fire. The young woman thought that it started when someone pitched a cigarette into the dumpster, but this had the earmarks of a deliberate fire. On the other side of the alley, several people stood in their yards and doorways, clustered around holding beer bottles and cans, watching it like it was a movie. I tried to keep my distance, before and after filming the above, mainly because I didn’t know if anything explosive was in the dumpster. For all anyone knew, someone had discarded gasoline or aerosol cans in there.
I awoke late this morning with a bad pain in my left shin (and the right, but to a much lesser degree), and I knew that walk-a-thons like the ones of Friday and Saturday were out of the question. I geared down my pace considerably for the one-mile walk to Family Dollar to buy some socks and underwear, and negated all my healthy walking with a too-big lunch at Kentucky Fried Chicken on W. 5th Ave. While I was at the main library later in the afternoon, I Twittered: Real dilemma on my hands here. Should I ignore the pain in my shin and walk today, so I can work off the huge meal I ate at KFC? A friend in San Francisco posted Listen to your shin, a reply that was “liked” by three people. (My Twitter posts automatically appear on my Facebook page.)
And I did listen to my shin for most of the day, but I came home and napped for an hour or two (thereby missing an early Sunday night meeting I had planned to attend, and had entered onto my cell phone–which is my appointment diary these days). When I awoke, the shin pain was bearable, but it was there. So I walked to Kroger and bought some naproxen, which may keep the pain at bay enough for me to do some walking for recreation and exercise.
I have had my Windows Media Player on shuffle while I’ve been typing, although I limit to the songs I ranked as five-star songs–a potpourri that varies from classic to New Wave. Considering my situation, it’s bizarre that Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver” came up just now. I guess it could have been worse; it could have been The Beatles’ “Good Night.”