Wind In The Pillows (Frankie – 2009)
They say humans spend a third of their lifetime sleeping. Of that time, I spend a third lying in bed swearing, a third sitting in the kitchen eating ham and a third rolling around in a half-awake dream state with the devil playing Pictionary. Rock and roll brain, you god forsaken sponge! Where did it all go wrong? Insomnia. Discusszzzzzzzzzzz.
I’ve always had an overactive imagination, and can’t remember a time when I didn’t spend at least half an hour hurtling through wormholes down the rabbit hole of my mindioli. Through childhood, this tended to be an exciting time, like a fairground for the subconscious. I’d lie there staring up at my glow in the dark stickers (the universe was blurry with my glasses off), enjoying the weight of a balled up cat on my feet, kaleidascoping friends faces with storybook scenery and a pencil case of colour. Teenagedom was reserved for a tour de farce of sexual fantasies and idea fireworks for stunts I could pull at school. With the 4/4 chug of my heart in my ears, a sound I’ve never been too comfortable with, I allowed my engine to power down, safe in the knowledge that I’d always manage to drift off.
As an adult something changed. Dark emotions weaved in like Pacman’s ghosts and screwed with the controls. My single mattress was adrift in space, galaxy’s outside my comfort zone. I was living in a Sydney sharehouse, directly next to a train line and under a flight path. One day a train and plane went by at the same time and the phone rang and I screamed. For weeks on end I’d still be awake at four am. I’d just left the warm arms of a long term relationship and was now tossing and turning like a rotisserie man-chicken – playing one man twister where every colour is BLACK! I drew the viscous circle of not sleeping and then worrying about not sleeping. My sticker-stars were replaced by the corrupt glow of the Internet, the only weight on my feet was unsorted washing.
They say the first thing you should do when you can’t sleep is get up. (James Brown often sang about this). My testament to this theory is a cache of virus ridden computers, a discography of ‘poor man’s Beck’ acoustic demo’s, half arsed attempts at Peter Carey novels and the kinds of snacks that would get you kicked off a cooking show. After alphabetising my medication, I’d return to my usual program of: whywouldshesayathinglikethat!maroon prism dissipates into yellow jelly bean! mustpaymobilebillcanborrowoffmum!sadlovelybushwalkmemorytreees!halfabuildingcrashedontogumboot!beatlesmelodylionsfacewaterslidebreasts! swimming in surf club burnt my steak beer with katrina tomorrow volcanic double faced clown crayon butterscotch scottishcloud stained glass whistling sandra sully! still not fucking asleep! 4:39! Tomorrows centrelinkkkk be at gig at 6sleep till 12no11no12okay1130 yes! No! don’t sleepin, mustsend email tofestivalbluepolesturningintohexagonflipsmeltsmillionsdarkness! can you have two wanks in a night?
The next day I’d awake like a smashed ant and try to conjure Edward Norton from Fight Club. At least he made walking around like a zombie look cool. (Scratch the blowing up credit card companies shtick…although…centrelink…*mumbles to self*)
Today, things are a bit better, and I’ve grown more confident in my ability to adapt. I’m tired of running at half capacity. I’m trying to funnel the fallout into a routine of exercise and early mornings. There are other practical things like no caffeine after four, getting up at the same time each day, and no Lolcats before bed. (SAD FACE). Others have suggested warm milk, BBC World Service and masturbation (all at once). I feel like there’s a world of meditation out there I’m yet to explore, and I think of my mind as a startled stallion that can be handled and tamed. Oh for rain on the roof, freshly washed sheets and snuggling deep under the covers. Oh for drifting into a beautiful dream where you’re flying high above the navy ocean, skimming the sunset clouds.