I’ve developed an abusive relationship with my mind.
And if it doesn’t let me sleep soon, I’m going to have it removed and thrown down a flight of stairs.
Have you heard? Apparently I’ve given up sleeping.
When did this happen? Sleep used to be my friend, my fantasy-rich, cozy friend. There was a time I could, given my own way, sleep 10 to 12 hours at a stretch, eyes closed tightly against the world, my tiny fists curled under my chin, my brain running unfettered.
This is no longer the case. While my eyes are still closed, my fists still balled up, my brain no longer runs free but finds itself trapped in repetitive loops, bits of music circling my head with NASCAR-like fury.
Where’s my pit crew and why aren’t they waving me in?
Take, for instance, Sunday night. 1:30, it was, when I awoke with ZZ Top’s “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” stuck in my head. I’m not even sure if I really like that song, and I particularly don’t care for it waking me up at 1:30. I fought it. Shut up! I summoned the Mind Eraser: The Star-Spangled Banner, the Marine Band version, complete with screaming trumpets. The crowd in my head gets to its feet, removes its collective hat, and struggles with the lyrics. I mentally dim the lights as the last two words of the national anthem (“Play ball!”) resound in my head.
Now I can sleep.
ZZ Top takes the stage again.
I curse them and that lousy song as colorfully as I can.
Monday night was a repeat of Sunday night, minus the Star-Spangled Banner and plus the alphabet.
Tuesday night I played along and lead the imaginary version of the real band to believe that a 30-some year-old song popping up in the wee hours of the morning was a welcomed thing. A tattoo-encrusted crowd hollered along, young women with issues around self-esteem lifted their shirts, and I let the whole song play in my head, right to the very end. In my mind, I stood, applauded. Lovely! Lovely! Thank you and good night, Minneapolis!
I specifically did not say “Encore”.
But they did. For hours.
It is Wednesday evening as I write this. No doubt the first 16 bars of "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" or "76 Trombones" or something equally esoteric awaits me.
I can hardly wait to find out.
The mind is a mysteriously crowded and wrinkly place.
Send for help.
And bring snacks.
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