It's been an interesting 1440 minutes. It seems like it should be a lazy day. But I have been productive. I did get the "afternoon sleepies" as an artist friend of mine describes them. That period in the middle of the day when your body wants to shut down. I rarely succumb to the call. I do feel my eyes shifting and minute zaps of REM trying to take hold of the rest of the body. I resist. Afternoon cups of coffee or "energy" drinks seem to be where people turn to avoid shutting down and taking what your body often deserves. The "afternoon sleepies" must be eradicated in my world. They don't often happen and I don't often resist, but today I had to, too much stuff to do...The rent isn't going to pay itself.
The afternoon sleepies frighten me. That is why I often do take that nap even if it is for forty five minutes. Why do they frighten me? A couple of reasons that are all inter-connected.
When I was caught up in the insanity of active addiction, the afternoon was my time to refuel, to get off E. This meant that during the last hour or two of work, I was progressively getting sicker, aka withdrawing. Nodding off while I was writing the menu descriptions, sniffling, aching back, stomach and joints. I punched the clock and I was out of there. All I had to do was make it 7 miles, which would take me about 20 minutes in the heaviest of traffic. The window would be open, I would light a cigarette and inhale deeply hoping to benefit from the stimulation the nicotine had to offer and the music would be blaring. Anything to stay awake. I would stop at traffic lights and nod, only to be startled back to my dope sick haze by the roar of an impatient commuter's horn. I would slap myself to stay awake, often catching myself sliding into that haze between sleep and consciousness. I am amazed that I never went off the road, killed myself or someone else. I managed to make to the most recent residence which my connection had commandeered. She had my shit waiting for me. And there I was like I had just landed on the sandy beaches of Club Med, a quick shot with a sharp set of works and I was all better. For all intents and purposes...normal. That was on a good day. On a day where she had "other business" meaning circumstances dictated that I could not come in and fix myself. This is the situation where I had to find a quiet private place such as the public restroom in a local coffee house, or a secluded corner of a supermarket parking lot or a handicapped accessible port-o-san in a playground. High and Lonesome ain't no place to be. And it sure as shit is a lot of work. Definitely much more work than staying clean.
The afternoon sleepies feel uncomfortably like the progression of the sickness. To this day I am startled when I get that feeling. The old timers in the rooms tell me to just tell myself, this too shall pass. I still think it is better to take a nap. These days the worst of it is a punch drunk kind of feeling where I begin to conjugate and pluralize words in a way that are reminiscent of Gollum's speak.
Tolkien pretty much hit it on the head as far as taking a tour through the mind of an addict with Gollum. His addiction to The Ring of Power stripped him of everything. He murdered to get it. It's allure and beauty consumed him with obsessive and compulsive thinking and actions. Once a Hobbit like creature, Smeagol regressed to the most basic animal level living in the dark, dank caverns of Mordor slithering around isolated, existing on the the least amount nourishment possible. Changed in mind, body and spirit. Stripped of everything by" his precious" And what would he do, how did he prostitute himself to be put into a position where he could take that last chance to reclaim what he needed? I know what I used to do to get what I needed.
Things are progressing in a positive way today. That feeling did, indeed, pass. Now I am as alert and lucid as if i just got my eight hours. I saw the blackbirds heading toward East Springfield as I was driving to my studio-space. I have seen where they congregate at night. Dusk is the time of day when they flock and claim that perch for the evening. Some flock to the bare oak and maple trees along interstate 291 near the Armory Street exit, to the trees which have dropped their leaves for the winter. As the birds fill the branches of the trees, they become dark, Gothic leaves and begin to dot and contrast against the pink and gray Maxfield Parrish winter sky. The slumbering trees are lush and queerly defined by the black birds. It is refreshing when the earth awakens from the winter and the leaves grow. Do the blackbirds flock to that spot in the summertime? Perhaps. But they are shielded by the lush green leaves and remain unseen. But As I have learned over the course of the years just because you don't see something, it doesn't necessarily mean it is not there.
I think I will take that nap. I am going to a meeting tonight where I am going to get up and pick up a Blue 6 month Key Tag. Clean and Serene for 6 months, it will say. I used to scoff at the serene part. I may have been clean but I was still pretty messed up inside. I was still in the grips of the disease putting myself in harm's way by associating with the wrong people. I have joked that I was being pursued by a shape shifting succubus named McCormick. Oddly the two active addicts I hooked up with in the last two years were both named McCormick. They were both beautiful in their own way. One of them was stunningly so, perhaps the most beautiful woman I have ever met. Today, I can tell myself that I am incapable of saying NO to either one of them and worse, I am incapable of saying NO to myself in their presence. I think about, and pray for them, often. They both know where to find me. I dodge an occasional phone call. One of them called my house on Christmas Eve looking for me. Ali identified herself to my sister, who took the call. My sister, unbeknownst to me, told her she didn't know where I was. Bless her. Like, I said, If they really want to find me they know where to look. When they finally do arrive, I will hug them, tell them I love them and clap for them when they get up to get that white key tag symbolizing their surrender.
As always you will find me...
Running Hard out of Muskrat Flats.