A few scant weeks prior to the birth of this blog in the summer of 2000 I had been working as an Orientation Leader for Drexel, helping to guide and socialize pre-freshman during their summer campus visit.
It’s nearly impossible to be a camp counselor to people who are only a few months younger than you, and by virtue of being an Orientation Leader you are a major geek in their eyes, so the only real solution to holding their attention and respect (for me, anyhow) was sheer, irrepressible, unavoidable, kinetic energy.
I had so much of that energy built up the evening before our first group of students arrived that I absolutely could not sleep (this was before the days of Benadryl w/vodka chaser, god bless my 18-yr-old soul). I remember the absolute hopelessness of it – the clock facing my dorm bed inexorably ticking closer to our 6:15 a.m. call time.
Around five I just gave up – sleep can’t be forced. I just enjoyed the lying still in my bed, counting down the minutes.
The intersection of insomnia and excitement worked. Spectacularly. I’ve always been of the manic, excitable persuasion, but that night was the catalyst to a major transformation: my metamorphosis from excitable boy to something akin to a walking cartoon – rabidly energetic, and afraid to stop moving because I might just pass out.
(Probably a contributing factor to my broken collarbone, but that’s neither here nor there. More Germain is that it was tangentially the template for my participation in Blogathon; I would have never dared to believe I could blog and sing and record for twenty fours hours if I hadn’t going through my insomniac-energy boot camp the summer before.)
I’ve been thinking about that all day because it has been one of those days. I put in a twelve-hour shift of mixing and recording last night, and if you consider when I usually get home from work you’ll realize that subsequently I wasn’t left with too much time for sleep between the end of that endeavor and the beginning of my new work day.
I usually dread getting up and out for work with less than four hours of sleep, but today I loved my barely-two. I was up and out of the house like a catapult, remembering all of my electronic accouterments, walking rather than taking the bus, at work and in constant motion.
The only detraction is that I can’t speak anything resembling English while trying to leave a voice mail, but that’s what the “do-over” button is for.
(Except when you call outside clients and bang the do-over button and then mutter “fuck” because you realize you can’t do-over on their system, and then you realize you just muttered “fuck” in a professional voice mail and the tape is still rolling.)
Today was an exception – I don’t do sleepless nights nearly as much (or, nearly as well) as I did back then – but it’s nice to pitch one in here and there to remind myself what it’s like to be not just unwilling, but unable, to stop.