25 March 2006

Blogging Bleary

It's 6am. Not an unusual time for me to be awake, except in unusual circumstances, which these are. For one thing, it's Saturday. For another, for various reasons this puts my total night's rest at three and a half hours.

I am in that netherworld of shuddery-armed, glue-eared and shiver-spined shock, blinking and bleary eyed - insides complaining that they are still asleep and intend to remain that way, whilst the rest of me cries out for some noise to break the silence; company; coffee. The sort of stage where silence feels unnaturally complete and you long for the sound of even a car in the street to break through the cotton wool that is your brain. The kind of state where you automatically tiptoe, whether there's anyone around to hear you, or not.

Congratulations, you have won a prize - one hangover - no alcohol necessary.

Yeah, that one.

I imagine that in about twenty minutes the lining of my mouth will begin to taste and feel like the bottom of a birdcage, or at least the way a mouth could expect to feel after a night dining on cardboard. Thats metaphorical, but just now I am too insensible to feel much of my mouth, nor to know whether I am making much sense, here.

Yesterday, although I thought I'd forgotten how, I switched back into Superwoman mode. Thank God my son has a SEN caseworker with a wit, who can talk at 100 miles an hour same as me if the opponent permits. Too many nurse and social worker types lean toward that sort of work, and with the background comes a long, heavily embedded training in speaking slowly and softly, in waiting for the other person to stop and go silent before drawing breath to respond. Many call it listening skills - it's not, it's 'showing slow minded people that I am listening' skills. Subtle difference.

She and I however, we were in the zone, and found ourselves using tiny flicks of sign language to keep the speed - palm up for I'll have an answer to that, fingers forward for 'I'm just going to slice in, here'. We were like drivers in the fast lane, constantly cutting each other up but without a single prang - it was wonderful. We covered so much ground in a single hour. I love it when people can dance with their words. Even if you are there to disagree with each other, its an honour and a compliment to take on the silent agreement, to know you are really being heard and matched for speed.

By the end of it I even said that my brain was fried. It wasn't exactly, more that I had absorbed all of the information yet it was still this swirling maelstrom, whizzing round on shifting currents. I knew that as the heavier learning settled and began to form a working pattern, a map of itself; some, like dust, would be lost to the winds. Still, sometimes dust is gold-dust; not the sort you want to lose in order to hang on to the boulders.

For the rest of the day then, my subconscious was working at full pelt, trying to sift and grade the contents of an information tornado. By three I had written and sent my summary email - my 'thank you for our meeting, which covered these main points' letter, the one that, without a reply, means it stands as a gospel, as minutes.

After that I just closed down.

Slam. Like a prison on lock-up.

Walking to get the kids from school made my legs ache - gave me splints, and as soon as we were back indoors, I started to feel increasingly cold. Whilst my body took on all the effects, my mind decided it was still working in overdrive, had processed all that information and wanted more, and more. Paying attention to the kids jabbering, running wordplay games with them, it was so easy. Once they'd gone to bed however, with Husband in a Friday night slump, the silence started to grate. My brain began to feel like a water boiler running on dry, grinding away searching for input, desperate to be fed with news excitement, an argument, anything. It was doing it's little lawyer-on-speed routine and Husband started to look like a rabbit in my headlights.

So guess what we did, then. Yup, we argued, or more precisely he spoke once and I sliced like a maniac. It was like pitting a samurai against a toddler; no fun at all. My body rallied, however; came back on full alert, so I sat for two hours like a runner at the off, blood pressure constantly increasing in line with my indignation. What made it worse was that Husband took the silence to mean that all was back to normal - didn't have the wit to see that there was steam coming from my ears in increasing amounts for every second of his blindness.

Sideways slants, like me furiously playing a computer game that I know annoys him (he can't think round the sound effects), then stating 'This is your wife in "what the hell am I doing here' mode" didn't get me the attention I hoped for, but rather a blank stare and a response of "Er, don;t know, what are you doing there?" before he instantly went back to doing his own thing. We got our 'here's mixed up, he missed the intonation that CLEARLY labelled my 'here' as referring to in this house/in this marriage/on this planet. How dare he, huh.

A single friend came online to chat, and that was enough. After a brief flurry of force feeding her too much information, I let her get a word in edgeways, and she made me feel noticed, even worried for. Maybe all I'd needed all night was someone to say 'poor you' and mean it, but that was it, I began yawning and just couldn't stop.

There is one thing that never happens in this household; I never go to bed before Husband. Sometimes with; usually after, but never before. Still it was Friday night and he normally stays up until about 1am, so at ten I felt safe to slope off to bed and have a chance to actually be fast asleep before the object of my pointless fury joined me.

I slept. I dreamed. For all of half an hour, and then there he was, bumbling and stumbling into the room. The very second his head hit the pillow, my blood pressure flew up the scale and stayed there. Try lying still when what you really need is ten laps round the block. It hurt, and it made damn sure I was wide, wide awake again.

He fell asleep quickly and easily - too quickly and easily; unaware and unaffected, which at the time, I took to be THE ultimate bloody insult. I took my pillows and the spare duvet to the living room, sat on the sofa and watched three inane romcoms on the movie channel, bam, bam, bam, in a row, before finally getting to sleep somewhere between 2 and 3am, with the light still on.

So, you poor, dear, faithful reader, you who have striven through the cloying muds of this post - why did I begin typing this blog at 6am?

Because at just gone 5, my single-parent daughter and her (not particularly welcome) boyfriend turned up on our doorstep. They'd come to town for the one nightclub it possesses, where her handbag had been stolen, including £90, every penny to her name. By the time they'd searched the venue, made the allegation, walked to the police station, sat through one of those deliberately slow sessions performed especially for the young and the brash who wander in smelling of the good party they've just had and sound a little too emphatic and look like they need calming down, well by then there was no option but to walk up here and beg to crash. No trains, insufficient remaining funds for a night taxi home.

Daughter, on weepy auto-pilot, went to her sister's room, dragged the single visitor mattress from there to the living room floor, and there they both are now, asleep inside thirty seconds, on my pillows, under my spare duvet. He's rolled to the middle, she's rolled off the edge. About 6 foot away from me, just around a corner. And now he's snoring.

But hey, I guess I did say I wanted noise.

Off to make toast now. Loudly.


Stegbeetle said...

So how long does your brain usually stay in this "lawyer on speed" mode? I ask because it seems that it's still full on this morning!
For a post to be this flowing, lucid and driven at such an ungodly hour and after so little sleep suggests that your mind still has it's foot to the floor. I can't think of a post I've read anywhere less deserving the description "cloying muds"! Be careful or it'll crash and for a bit you won't find the mental capacity to boil a kettle without mishap. I speak from experience here - having been, no false modesty, brilliant for any length of time the fuel runs out and I can't fasten my flies without falling over!
One thing that strikes me. Obviously I don't know your husband but when you say
"Husband took the silence to mean that all was back to normal - didn't have the wit to see that there was steam coming from my ears in increasing amounts for every second of his blindness"
you may be mistaking "blindness" for "taking cover"! In the situation where
"he spoke once and I sliced like a maniac"
then I, myself, and other guys I know would go into "bombardment" mode, pull down the shutters, batten down the hatches and other metaphors for "keeping your head down 'cos anything you say will be wrong"!

I know it drives Wife crazy that I won't argue back!
I gather yesterday's meeting went well then!!
All sympathies to Daughter, with any luck she'll get any personal effects back eventually but £90 is a sore loss. One more reason I don't go to nightclubs...

She Weevil said...

Sending cyber tea and biscuits - not up to any more - actual hangover. Hugs.

Just another American Expat said...

And people say that the “Terrible Twos” are bad? Parenting never really does stop, does it?

doris said...

I hope you feel better for having written it down .... that is a brilliant piece of writing you did there!

I can recognise some of these feelings .... huge emotions under the surface whilst hubby seems oblivious. Steg's explanation is interesting so why doesn't my otherwise brilliant and sensitive husband overcome this "taking cover" attitude? I'm afraid that I still think that many men are just totally oblivious and agree that a few are just scared to deal with it. Jeez as women we are not afraid of dealing with things. Now who is supposed to be the stronger sex?

May you have a day all to yourself today Cheryl. As you darned well please! Hugs

Host of Spirits said...

Oooooo ... I have some new pain killers from the doc that also wipe out all emotion after taking them - sounds like you needed a couple last night !!

Stegbeetle said...

Doris, there's no doubt that many men are "totally oblivious". That's a polite way of putting it!
Cyber-seltzer and hot, sweet tea for She Weevil. Let's keep the noise down for the person with pounding head and bloodshot eyes! *speaks from rueful experience*

Cheryl said...

Steg & Doris - thank you. I am beginning to see potential for corrections (using 'still' twice in a paragraph etc), or perhaps my pendulum is swinging towards everything being wrong in general. Are you supposed to notice when that happens?

Annie - Thanks but no way, if I'd been logical and emotionless last night, what seemed like the rational course of action may have landed me up with a lot of explaining to do, plus mopping up.

Expat - seen a fridge magnet (first effort -firdge magent? Steg must be right) that says the first 40 years are the toughest. Just to give you something to look forward to.

She Weevil - same to you! Hugs also - I hope the memory of the session outshines the memory of the cost!

Ally said...

Yes, I agree with others, it's a fantastic piece. I find it SO annoying when I want a decent row and B just lets my pointless rage flow over him. So unfair! Have a good day ... .

Badaunt said...

Oh, Cheryl!

You need a Good Night's Sleep. Let them all go hang, and Get A Good Night's Sleep. (Using caps makes it official.)

(But I must say that when you're wired up and sleepless you write WONDERFULLY. So perhaps you should just stay up another night or two and write a novel...?)

zilla said...

I believe the multi-sensory key here is to burn the toast, actually, so that you are forced to scrape-scrape-scrape the stinking char off with a knife (which of course you must rattle furiously through the drawer to find) into either the sink (water running full force to blast the charred crumbs down the drain) or into the bin (damn it, the lid popped off and crashed to the floor, then the bin itself tipped over and spilled onto the floor) ... you get my drift.

The NERVE of people actually sleeping soundly when our hackles are up!

Anonymous said...

dearsweetjesus, what a day and night you had, Cheryl! A long burst of energy like that (raging or not) gets things moving in general a lot of the time, I find: may be the silver lining (that and proving what an excellent writer you are, wonderful!)

Le laquet said...

That was a fab post, I was on the edge of my seat and in fact I need the loo and I can't walk away from it!!!

What is it with men and the silent thing when you want to scream and shout? Any men out there who can answer that one?

Stegbeetle said...

In answer to Le Laquet I can only say that I'll quite readily enter into reasoned debate on any subject but if all you want to do is "scream and shout" then why expect me to join in? I'm sure there are guys out there who will but it's certainly not my style!