Thursday, October 26, 2006

it's all part of the curse

I'm not a nightowl. I'm not a morning person either.

If given a choice, in fact, I'd probably function at the relatively civilized hours between 10 am and 7 pm. Not really that unreasonable, really, and frankly I'm a little lucky that my necessarily evil professional life functions at those hours (somehow). But tonight, for the seventh night in the series of eight, I've got to put on my nightowl hat.

Not such a bad thing. It fits better than the morning hat, certainly. Morning hats are horrible, I mean come on, what those must look like (I bet they're chalky gray and uncomfortable anyway). I admire you folks who can wear such a thing and wear it well, or better yet, would CHOOSE to wear it. But getting up at 5 am or thereabouts on a regular basis would, most likely, tear me in half.

But let's get back to tonight. It's not the being up late that bothers me, not at all. Again, in my natural state I'd probably be up until 1230 or 1 anyway depending on what's happening. But it's the fact I have to GO OUTSIDE and into the world in a couple of hours. Starting my night at such an hour feels unnatural. On a school night no less.

It's going to be fine, and probably even a fair amount of fun, but I'm dreading it. I'm going to have to be kinda on my game here this evening, and I'm just not in a place for it now. If given a choice I'd rather pick up a book (this month being Stanley Elkin's "The Franchiser" which is just moving like cold syrup through me or my under-explored collection of Barthelme short stories). Yes, either of those would do nicely.

Instead there will be coffee, if I'm smart, and some music to get me going. Hopping, even. Whatever it says about me, my musical tastes run toward the introverted (if those of you out there haven't noticed yet). That which evokes images or pictures internally, for the most part, which means the tempos, well, the tempos aren't generally up. By in large, the rock 'n roll I tend to bring is heavier, maybe even slower.

This song, however, is, and on short notice it's going to have to do.

'Four Hours in Washington,' by M. Ward

Ironically enough, I sometimes suffer from insomnia.

As much as I love sleep, love relaxing and love winding down with the unconscious, some nights it eludes me. It hasn't happened lately--thankfully (it always feels like I'm fighting with a dear friend)--but whenever it hits it sounds exactly like this song.

I like M Ward. Saw him in concert a month or so ago and he nailed it. Great guitarist, great singer, and he's definitely got the sort of brooding, wild-haired singersongwriter early-Dylan thing going that fills the stage nicely. He played this song at the Fonda that night and it's just a perfect encapsulation of the frustration, the nervous energy, the twitching anxiety that comes from not being able to sleep. Especially if you need to sleep because something BIG is happening in the morning.

You worry, you feel broken, you twist in bed as your brain pounds this ever-increasing shufflebeat into your head. You try counting backwards from 100, visualizing calm, peaceful places, anything, and it doesn't work. Time goes by fast, fast enough to know you're running out of time to sleep but not fast enough to give you the impression that you've actually GONE to sleep.

Tonight, when i stumble into bed around 2 am tonight, knowing I need to wake up in maybe six more hours, I hope my night doesn't sound like this. I hope yours doesn't either. But if it does, it's nice to know M Ward has been there.

Buy M Ward's 'Transistor Radio' from InSound


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