The Morning After The Morning After

Concentration isn’t easy when you’re tired. I’m tired – I’m tired quite a lot actually – and am finding that it isn’t easy to concentrate at all.

I don’t know what I want out of a weekend but I never seem to get it. Some instinctive but not altogether logical part of my brain has a little list of things to do each weekend, and it is typically many more things than there is time to do things in. One of the pastimes I always look forward to is doing very little, reading the paper, sleeping more – for longer at the main bedtimes, and having little afternoon sleeps as well. The sad fact is that these don’t happen as much as I would like, these extra sleeps and sleeping longer episodes. It’s not a surprise that the mental notes I’ve made – an untidy pile of them resembling receipts for a cheap and dodgy small business which have been put on one of those metal spike things to be gone through later, and they haven’t been gone through, sorted, read, counted for an entire financial year – don’t add up to a detailed program of activities, itemised, planned and timetabled. Nothing even resembling such a running order for my weekend happens without the intervention of some more structured person and their tendency to streamline and be realistic. Every weekend I seem to hope that there will be an opportunity to go to the art gallery, to spend a day doing gardening things, to shop for groceries and other things, to relax and watch some telly and generally not feel like my team has been wasted. At the end of every weekend, and in the days following – before the build-up to the next one – I feel a kind of inconsequential sadness about lost opportunities and time not used in a rational manner. I’ve polished my boots once in months. It seems like time can’t be found to do this, when of course it can. It’s put off until the weekend, with all the scientific research and novel writing and watching ‘Twin Peaks’ from beginning to end in a couple of marathon sittings that are pencilled in on my very untidy mental notepad. This is obviously, now that I come to write about it, an elaborate system of delusions and procrastinations representing a kind of poisonous laziness. It’s not good. And it’s too easy to lapse into. Experience suggests that emerging from it takes far longer than easing into it takes.

But this weekend just gone was different. I had something on. People to see, that sort of thing. A commitment to provide the venue for boofheaded mates to watch some footy together and talk nonsense in that way that men do on such occasions, when, to use the words of the Louis Armstrong song, “they’re really saying: ‘I love you’.” It had to happen, was organised, not possible to abort … and was fun, in the end. But it was an event, albeit a small one, and weekend events always seem to knock me around more than they really ought to. The weekend, as I think I perceive the concept, is my time, my time to “deprogram”, as a psychic once told me I needed to do when I come home from work, when the showing my face to the public and projecting an image phase is over and I can close the door and be me, not public me, but me, the me that does embarrassing things and doesn’t sell himself constantly as a stand-up adult human being, but is in fact more likely to pace around with a figurative or emotional blanket around his shoulders, muttering to himself in his boxer shorts and T-shirt with food and wine stains on it. (The psychic added that she needs to do the same thing, to be friendly and to share and also to make it clear she wasn’t saying, “Well you’re a bit of a freak, aren’t you?”) So even with friends, friends I’ve known for around 20 years, I still feel like I can’t quite relax until it’s over. That seems to be the way it is. I’ve learnt that. I’m accepting that. It means that there are follow on effects though: when my guests go home – not that I wish to be a guest or a host more than about once a year each, if that – I need then to do some deep breaths (figuratively speaking) and these can’t be taken immediately, and so I’ll sit up and have some more drinks and not feel like going to bed at all, despite the fact that my body is certainly weary. It’s like my body gets out of sync with my brain or my emotions. When my emotions are ready for proper slumber, having worked through what they needed to work through and decided that it’s time to let go and truly let the energy drain away and subject themselves to sleep, body feels like it has been wandering and wandering and wandering, in a vain attempt to find the destination where there is rest, and it’s dark and the body feels all it can do is wander, so it does. By the time we all wake up together, my mind, emotions, body, and me, everything is topsy turvy. Brain is usually switched on early and feels like it can’t slip back into the dormant, serene state necessary to induce sleep. Emotions are still a bit funny, a bit odd, and it is typical that a certain degree of strange and mostly unwarranted guilt lingers and lurks and makes inappropriate suggestions: perhaps the feeling that time has been wasted is already taking hold. The body feels like shit, but it’s keen too to watch the politics show and the sports shows, so we all get out of bed together, sometimes quite early. By the end of ‘The Sunday Roast’ the body isn’t feeling so good.

And by the time we all wake up on Monday morning, brain is fine, focussing on what needs doing: clean teeth, shower, dress, and don’t fuck around; emotions are numb as they’ve become rejuvenated and there’s nothing to really express a feeling about, the brain won’t allow it, but if there’s time to truly dwell on an idea for a few minutes then the wistful notion that life has to be better than doing a crap job and working harder than the people who pay you deserve you to work will probably be tested and assessed and rated and will perhaps provide a thought soundtrack on the walk to the train station; by this point the body’s just fucked.

That’s where I am now. Quietly congratulating myself that all of us have got through the day and that what I’ve written seems to make sense. But I know that my brain is starting to tire. By Wednesday or Thursday it will have slowed right down and getting to sleep may become easier – but that means I won’t wake up before my alarm and won’t be able to turn it off before a blast of Mahler or one of his mates rents the air in twain at an early hour. And when that happens the main thought, after turning the clock radio alarm off, will be: “I need the weekend, now!”

Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 8:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

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