Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sleep Deprivation

This is going to have to be a quick one because I’m off on a cow hunt this afternoon and then I need to pack and find my passport and then I really need some sleep; spent yesterday craving it. You know when you are so tired that you can’t sleep, although in my case it was because the Estate Agent brought round an extremely unsuitable couple to view my tiny flat. Something about being half asleep and unable to find my glasses made my hearing acute and I could hear the middle-aged sow wondering around shaking her head at how tiny everything was. With every word she uttered I felt like slamming something hard and fatal into the Estate Agent's face for having denied me precious minutes sleep.

The second they left my head fell onto the pillow with a thud and moments later my phone started beeping. Although I was tempted to lob the thing across the room I did restrain myself and blearily saw that Jane had found her lost voice and after two days of silence wanted some stimulation other than her kids. She also wanted me to fill in all the gaps around the 160 characters you are allowed to send in a text message. I did my duty as a loyal friend, I was already beginning to feel sleep slip away and called back. “Oh sorry!” She said. “I’ve got to go I’ve just had a call on the other phone.” Tears were beginning to prick the back of my eyes.

My head flopped onto the pillow again and a few minutes later the phone rang again. “Hello.” I answered grumpily.

“Sorry did I wake you up?”

She knew she had woken me up, I had just been on the phone to her a minute ago. Ah, but this wasn’t Jane I now realised; it was Anne. “No, you’re not the first to wake me up.”

“I’ve got some bad news for you.” That was like the adrenalin shot I needed to wake up every fibre of my body.


“I’ve just had Mr. Hadaka on the phone and he says his daughter hasn’t got her passport.” I relaxed and felt waves of fatigue wash over me again. I had thought Anne was going to tell me that she was sick or her son was sick, that she was going to abandon me again.

“I didn’t want to wake you up, but he doesn’t know what to do.” I wasn’t really paying attention to the rest of the conversation, but I did think about Mr. Hadaka’s daughter as I tried to slip into sleep again. Mr. Hadaka’s daughter and how I had put her passport in her bag because I didn’t really trust her to do it herself. And then the phone rang again.

“Jesus wept.” I snapped as I poked at the green button. It was Mr. Hadaka himself. I tried to explain, I really did, but I was tired and I kept getting wrapped up in the intricacies of my mother tongue using the past tense, conditionals and subjunctives and when I put down the phone I had the impression that he had not understood a word I had said. All I needed to say was that the passport was in the red and grey bag, instead I had tried to explain my thoughts and feelings about his daughter, the whole chain of events leading up to me putting the passport in the bag and I had not described the bag. The one sentence he probably would have understood without problem.

With this failure of communication forefront in my mind I knew there would be no sleep until I had sorted this out. I called Mrs. Tarawa, explained the whole sorry tale to her and asked her to intervene. Five minutes later she called back. “What happens if he doesn’t find the passport?”

“IT’S IN THE FUCKING BAG!” I felt like screaming, but fortunately an automatic alarm system in my brain sprung into action preventing me getting sacked even though my job was impinging on a Saturday morning and I managed to describe calmly and in detail the size, colour, shape and where in the bag I had put the passport.

Finally at peace with myself, my head lolled back onto the pillow. And the phone rang again. Mr. Hadaka again. He had found the passport. Thank you. My temper was more than a little frayed by now and I just about managed to say politely; “My pleasure, see you Monday.” I sagged onto my pillow.

And the phone rang again. I answered it was Jane. She announced that a friend that was engaged. “Are you crying?” she asked.

“No,” I answered wearily, but christ I wanted to.

About two thirty pm I could no longer keep my eyes open. I keeled over on my sofa and curled into a tight, sweet little sleep filled ball. Aaah, I felt my body relax. Bing Bong Bing Bong Bing Bonng Bing Bonng, I heard emanating from somewhere in the building. An eye popped open. The bonging continued, and continued, and continued until another neighbour equally pissed off with the bing bonging started playing piano!

I love Paris, have I mentioned that before? But sometimes, just sometimes, the thought of a desert island, me and my laptop and some books. The idea is heavenly.


Minx said...

I don't need much sleep but when I want it it seems that the whole world gangs up! Deprived myself last night - just hope I don't fall asleep watching the Da Vinci Code in a minute!!

Shameless said...

I used to live in a very narrow and noisy street in Paris, in Le Marais. There were buses roaring past every five minutes and young kids on blustering mopeds. It's amazing how the noise eventually becomes nothing. I got used to it and slept like a lamb most of the time. Now, in Lyon, where there is no noise, the slightest little thing can burst my eyes right open. Some of my nicest memories of Paris include the noise of the city.


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