Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Nocturnal musings

I am not a nervous flier – years of business travel and countless hours spent in airplanes of all shapes and sizes have made me reasonably comfortable with the various bangs, clunks, and grinding noises associated with take off and landing as well as the roller coaster ride of inflight turbulence.

However the same does not apply to the night before a trip. I don’t know if it’s the anticipation or simply an unrealistic worry about missing the 0-dark-30 alarm to get to the airport 2 hours before a 6 am flight, but I spend as much time in semi-awake neverland as I do sleeping, constantly checking the time ‘just in case’ none of the several alarms go off or I don’t hear them.

And the more I try to settle my thoughts and retreat into some sort of a zen state to relax my mind wanders... and wanders. As an example, a couple of weeks ago we were due to fly out in the early AM to St. Martin for a short vacation and, true to form, my nighttime thoughts were not about sugarplums but instead bounced back and forth between a short vignette I’m working on (and may post some day if it’s good enough) and how one’s lungs actually work to capture oxygen from the air – more specifically do they work more like a 2-stroke, or a 4-stroke engine? (I know, but I make no apologies for what the mind considers important at 3 AM.)

My Grade 9 biology class obviously did not adequately prepare me for that semi-lucid contemplation, or perhaps I have just forgotten in the intervening decades, however I ultimately decided it was definitely a 2-stroke operation - gas in, exhaust out, in one complete cycle. Now you know.

The other subject that consumed what was left of my half-awake-half-asleep brain, my embryonic story, will not be so easy. I know (or at least I think I know) that I had at least a half dozen undoubtedly clever turns of phrase that would leave the reader with an exceptional understanding of the sense and image I wish to convey. I suppose I should have written them down but I didn’t and so - pffft - gone with the 5 AM alarm.

As Google has yet to offer a “what I was thinking” feature it’s now back to hard work to try and reimagine the ideas. Which is unfortunate  because I’m certain they were brilliant, even if they did not include any references to 2- or 4-stroke engines.

10 comments:

  1. I sympathise. I was going to suggest scribbling notes in a smartphone, but that's a more slippery slope and definitely not conducive to rest.

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    1. Many years ago I tried the note pad by the bed solution, without much success. And a smartphone would just have me checking email, etc, "while I'm at it".

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  2. Interesting little story.....unfortunately I cannot offer a solution

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  3. I also went with a note pad on my bedside table for awhile but the scribbling didn't make any sense in the morning, well actually it was quite the dadaist style, coming to thing of it.

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    1. Now that you mention it I too recall that none of it made any sense in the light of day.

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  4. David, Like you I can be amazingly brilliant at 3AM and it lasts until I'm into or just finishing my shower. From that point on, the more mundane takes over, the brain slows to a crawl and it seems I sort of cope with day to day.

    If I could find a way to package my internal pre-dawn light, boy howdy!!

    When you come up with a method, please share.

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    1. I'll be sure to pass any ideas on. Of course I'll probably figure it out at 3AM and then not remember the next day.

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  5. I am not brilliant at 3 am in the morning, but I always have trouble sleeping the night before a trip. I think it stems from the alarm being set at a different time and being worried it won't go off.

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    1. Trobairitz - I expect you're right, with the added pressure that sleeping in doesn't just mean skipping breakfast but could mean a missed flight.

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