Friday, November 28, 2008

Tearing Off Tights With My Teeth

I returned to the office yesterday after a self-imposed two-day quarantine.
In truth, I think that the burning throat and thumping head to which I awoke on Tuesday morning were as much products of exhaustion as they were of anything contagious. Two days spent recuperating on the couch at Dungroanin', rather than inflicting myself upon my colleagues, has done me the power of good and I'm back to something approaching full strength.
But sleeping through the day on Tuesday meant that I struggled to drift off on Tuesday night, lying awake as the clock continued its steady progress beyond the early hours of the morning. Insomnia seems to be a self-feeding monster - the more you try to fall asleep, the harder it becomes. As I was lying in the dark, my brain was rattling through all the big issues - life and death, love and hate, Ren and Stimpy.
Unable to force myself to sleep, I wandered around Dungroanin' in an effort to avoid keeping Mrs Wife awake. The stillness that smothers the house during the witching hours is different to that which exists during the day. Having spent the afternoon alone in the house, I had become aware of how silent modern houses outwith town centres can be. The double glazing excludes all external sounds, the rabbits spend most of the afternoon dozing silently and I was in no mood for music or television.
But at night, though Dungroanin' is to all intents and purposes silent, the darkness seems to make even the smallest sound more easily identifiable. After a hard day's work of providing shelter, the house seems to creak for no good reason, arching its spine to iron out the kinks and stretching its extremities as it contracts in the clear, frosty night. Those electrical appliances that remain plugged in overnight emit a low hum that seemed inaudible during the day, to the beat of the kitchen clock.
Insomnia - the best mind-altering drug in the world.

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