Sunday, July 31, 2011

A quiet evening

Sunday evening has rolled around again. It is almost midnight as I write this. Today has been humid and rainy, and the city is quiet, the usual calm before the week starts again tomorrow morning. I went for a short run earlier, and while it was a bit painful it was good to get out there and do it.

I've run three times in the last week, short runs. Constantly having aches and pains related to running is an irritation, but it is better than the alternative, that being the state I find myself in if I don't run. Exercise is one of those things where you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

Over the last month I have been having a lot of trouble getting to sleep. I don't feel especially bad at night, but my body simply does not want to turn in for the night. It may be partly the warmer weather, and partly doing a bit less exercise than I was before. But it feels like more than that somehow. I hope that it passes quickly - I am getting tired of feeling fatigued during the day due to lack of sleep, then being unable to sleep properly at night despite being tired. Sleep is a simple thing, but it makes a huge difference.

I've been using some of my extra, unwanted waking time to read Game of Thrones, the first novel in George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. It is the first fantasy novel I have read in years, and it is very enjoyable. I really liked the first season of HBO's show based on Martin's story, and as I work my way through the book I find that the show is very faithful to the book. The people at HBO did a great job of realizing the world that Martin created in his book. Byzantine political machinations, a world with a history, a place similar enough to the history of our own world to be familiar, but different enough to be fascinating on its own terms.

As I work my way through the book, I find myself with a problem that faces all of us who find ourselves confronted with a good book or show - making it last. Some people sit down and read a book from cover to cover, or have a DVD marathon and watch all of a great series in one go. I always remember the case of an old university friend who, even after I warned him to ration it, insisted on going off and watching all of Band of Brothers in a single sitting. Unsurprisingly, he was pretty shell-shocked after that.

But for the most part, it isn't fear of bad effects that causes me to ration the good stories. It is wanting to extend the moment, to be able to spend longer in the various fantasy worlds, whether that is the Winterfell of Game of Thrones, the 1960s Madison Avenue of Mad Men, or the Baltimore corners of The Wire. Perhaps this is sad, that I need to depend on my time in fantasy-land to keep myself going. But sad or not, it is a necessity, and I'll keep rationing out the chapters as long as I can.

It is after midnight now, so i think I will turn in, read a final chapter, and then try to sleep. Hopefully this evenings short run will have convinced my body that it is time to sleep.


  1. I dread going to bed because I've given on getting to sleep until the wee hours, and this makes nights hell. So, my friend, when you're lying awake, know that you're not alone.

  2. Hope you continue to enjoy your book. I need a good fantasy read. I haven't been reading for while. Anyhow, it is to bad you are having pain while running. Have you tried physical therapy? I worked for my broken ankle.

  3. After having experienced extreme sleep deprivation in the military, I contend sleep is more important than food. Alert on an empty stomach is much better than sleepy on a full one. Do get your sleep!

    I find I also sleep less in summer. Age and hot weather are definitely a factor. Soon I'll be like my elderly neighbor - out reparing umbrellas and supervising the recycle pile at 6 in the morning.

    I've never thought about rationing books or movies. That's novel and frugal. I try to get it all in as soon as possible. Don't begrudge yourself escaping into a literary fantasyland. It's the best human experience, from oral stories, cave-drawings onward.

  4. @Snowbrush - I'm still struggling to get to sleep, but I have figured out a way to make good use of my time. It is a lot better if I simply don't go to bed until after 1:30am.

    @In The Pink - I have had massages, but not recently. I haven't had formal physical therapy though. Fortunately at the moment I seem to be doing okay again.

    @Anonymous - I don't wake early, but it seems like my body clock has reset itself to a few hours later somehow. I've given up fighting it and just decided to go to bed later.