Catching Cats

2011-01-04 17.32.45

I don’t sleep enough to give my mind and body their full measure of rest. I know this because only 5% of men in my age bracket sleep less than I do.

I was given a Fitbit for father’s day; it is a little pocket spy that counts every step and stair, and through the night monitors movement. The sleep monitoring is the part that interested me most, a chance to prove whether the perception of my restless tossing and turning is real, and when (if at all) it happens.

It happens. Periodically through the night and then in the small hours: three in the morning, a little flurry of movement, enough to break the depths of slumber, sometimes enough to wake me up entirely. I know. I don’t know what to do with the knowledge.

The gadget has changed my night time rituals. I am now a slave to the data. The day’s record of steps, stairs, calories, active minutes are squeezed to the last moment, pored over in the study.

At times I have fallen asleep over the stats, only to stumble down the stairs and into bed, fumbling with the wrist strap and hoping I have hit the sleep button.

That’s when the drowsiness flees. A startled cat that had been still and now is gone in three bounds. I lure it back with books and solitaire, realise when the tablet falls from nerveless fingers it is here, purring and ready. I rescue my spectacles, check the alarm again, knowing I will wake half an hour before it rings, and try to hold on to the furry somnolence.



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The Terror of the Mirror

DP: Mr Sandman – The Terror of the Mirror

Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more!

Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep,

Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,

The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,

Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,

Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

Macbeth 2:2

I am a careful chatelaine. Each door is pulled shut and locked before another opened. I step lightly from moment to moment, each diligently separate, never meeting myself on the way in or out. Masks and costumes hung on the hook inside each door.

If I keep you in a room you do not know me.

Sleep is my enemy. She steals the keys and leaves the doors wide open. The scents of separate lives, cheap coffee, starch, stale cigarettes, Baldessarini blend unbalanced.

Tales told in each domain dance a Viennese waltz, eyes searching behind the masks for lies and truths and hints of what the whole might be.

The friend of my enemy is my enemy. Sleep sets all the small parts free. Somewhere in the puzzle there is me. And so I fear to sleep and sleep in fear. Not falling to the welcome clasp of pillows but captured and manhandled by exhaustion, body fallen at odd angles.

For all my great to success to keep them all apart, in sleep the parts of me can coalesce unchecked and untamed until in that dim corridor, lamps turned low in deference to the hour, I see a shadow solidify, blank face accumulate expression, and I beg the sun to rise before the animation can complete.


Links to my books are available from my Amazon author page, they are also sold by other reputable bookstores. Please read, rate and review.