Monday, June 15, 2009

Counting sheep

But just when I’m in the middle of the story -- or not even the middle, but the middle of the beginning -- that’s when I have the worst night of sleep in a while, I mean there’s always the worst night of sleep in a while so maybe this is the worst night of sleep in more than a while, or the worst while in the night of sleep wait that doesn’t make sense and it’s all because of the night I’m just waking up from! But first there’s the problem, the problem is when I first wake up, then I’m lying in bed and trying every strategy to fall back asleep for what I’m certain must be hours -- I even try counting sheep, something that has probably never worked for anyone outside of a cartoon and when I visualize the sheep I visualize Brokeback Mountain since maybe that’s the last time I’ve seen sheep, the sheep were the only good thing about that movie, who knew that a movie about a straight guy raping another straight guy could become the gay assimilationist love story -- anything can happen with scenery so vivid! I count up to 50 and I get bored.

Maybe the problem is that I’m trying not to let my eyes go up in my head because the feldenkrais practitioner says maybe that’s what causes my sinus headaches except I think it’s also what lets you sleep, and eventually I get out of bed, which is what makes it the worst night in a while, because I never get out of bed, but this time I pull off the eye mask and look at the time and I can’t believe it’s only 9 a.m. that means I slept for way shorter than I thought I mean usually when I can’t sleep and I pull off the eye mask it’s at least 11 a.m. but at least since its earlier the light is softer and I take six amino acids, I mean six capsules that contain maybe 20 different amino acids, and then I get back in bed and I’m actually calmer and eventually I’m standing on the counter in some store trying to make a purchase there are so many people in line I have to stand on the counter. I’m holding my box of Entenmann’s donuts like it’s a bag -- you see, once you eat the first two you can make that part of the box into a handle, it’s easy because of the plastic window there are still six donuts left and I’m holding the box like a bag so they know I’ve already paid for the donuts, I just need to buy this lemon-lime soda and a box of Chiclets, the Green kind.

When you say citrus, people think oranges, right? And then they might think grapefruit. That’s why you have to say lemon-lime, when you’re talking about this soda. I’m only buying these things so that they trust me for the interview, which is supposed to happen before the chase that goes all the way from here and up the whole state even though the cops could have apprehended them before the chase they all want to get in on the movie deal. But what is Hollywood doing invading my dreams, just when I stopped reading a book because I couldn’t deal with Hollywood, I mean Hollywood in all these stories I usually like those stories where people throw in some random reference you’re not necessarily supposed to get but here with all these references in a row it just felt suffocating. And now in my dreams -- first Steven Spielberg, then Brokeback Mountain, and now I’m standing on the counter trying to buy Chiclets -- you can tell I’m at the beach because I’m not wearing any shoes.

But this is what I realize -- I’m walking through the basement of my parents’ house, telling someone yes, that room that looks like a library is my father’s office -- he’s a psychiatrist -- and then this other room is also his office. But then I notice that in the basement are also all these collective artists’ apartments -- it’s amazing just walking through and looking at all the vintage sofas and clashing dreams on the walls and I wonder whether it was always this way, and whether these people are renting from my parents and that’s when I wake up and realize maybe my eyes are hurting because I’m allergic to this eye mask I mean something in the detergent so I switch to another eye mask but then I’m awake so I’m angry.

At least I found my glasses -- they were lying on the bookshelf in the corner, just like that -- professorly. I only need them at times like this, when I’m trying to decide whether to lie on the fire escape in the sun while my food is cooking and if so then I wouldn’t want to put my contacts on yet but maybe it’s already too late for the fire escape, I mean too late for the angle of the sun at this time of the year so let me take more amino acids just.

But here’s the problem, or one of the problems. I just realized wait, I’m supposed to be working on the next book, so I rushed over to the bookshelf to look for those manuscripts I printed out a while back, and then I noticed oh no, it’s not divided in the way I thought it was -- so first there are several hundred pages that were supposed to be my next book, but then I didn’t like them because they felt like a continuation of the last book and then also there was the mess in the middle where the voice activation software wasn’t making any sense and that part was just too awful to even try to decode, but now I realize that the part I think of as the beginning of the next book is actually at the end of this other manuscript I mean it’s all blended together. Maybe that’s not a problem. I just have to print out something else, there’s always something else to print out.

On the fire escape: there’s some public event going on, and they’re blasting Whitney Houston, is that really Whitney Houston? Didn’t they take her away, because of all the drug problems? And then the roar of a crowd -- wait, is that a baseball game? It is Sunday afternoon, but please tell me there’s no way those stadium speakers could reach this far. No, it’s Civic Center, but too early for gay pride -- is it a protest? What kind of protest would play Whitney Houston?

When I interview Martin Duberman, he doesn’t answer my question about the last two sentences of his new book: “I keep hoping for a place to land, a sustainable community. The dream, improbable though it is, persists.” I want to know what makes this dream so elusive. At the Nob Hill Theatre, I realize there actually are people around because I hear a really loud burp and then two guys come out of one of the booths with a green light on, I mean they all have the green lights on and that’s why I thought no one was around -- I had sex with one of these guys before, and he runs away like he ran away with me I mean from me and the other one asks me if I’m German. We end up chatting and yes, he does say is that the name your mother gave you, face red with booze but there’s something about his spongy fingertips or the way he’s telling me his boyfriend just broke up with him today, after a year and a half and he knew it was going to happen because the boyfriend said let’s meet at the Thai Noodle Café but they never meet around here they meet at the boyfriend’s house because he has a nice place, a two-bedroom in the Inner Richmond, and then someone comes down to tell us to put money into a booth and he says let’s go outside while I smoke a cigarette.

2 comments:

Elián Maricón said...

"I’m lying in bed and trying every strategy to fall back asleep for what I’m certain must be hours -- I even try counting sheep, something that has probably never worked for anyone outside of a cartoon and when I visualize the sheep I visualize Brokeback Mountain since maybe that’s the last time I’ve seen sheep, the sheep were the only good thing about that movie, who knew that a movie about a straight guy raping another straight guy could become the gay assimilationist love story -- anything can happen with scenery so vivid! I count up to 50 and I get bored."

Ok, that made me laugh despite my own intimate acquaintance with the indignity of insomnia.

My thing is I try not to try to fall asleep because all of that effort makes me obsess over the fact that I am still awake. Of course trying not to try isn't very effective if I end up repeating "I'm not trying to fall asleep" like a mantra. Plus it's a lie because either way I'm still trying.

"Who would play Whitney Houston at a protest?"

Good question. I wouldn't be surprised if they play her music at that Million Moron March being planned for October...After all, somebody has to let Obama know that faggots believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way...Show them all the beauty they possess inside...

xoxoxo

EM

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Elian, I know -- sometimes I try not to try also, and then end up trying but you're right -- sometimes not trying actually works, yay for not trying!

Oh, and laughing, of course -- what could be better, with the indignity of insomnia...

But wait -- I don't know about the Million Moron March, but I do know that all at once, I'm drifting on the lonely sea, holding onto memory, and it hurts me more than you know...

But a million morons -- that is a lot of morons, I'm going to have to look into it...

Love --
mattilda