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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Overtime




“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

It appears my body will no longer let me sleep past 6 AM. With the extra hour from our antiquated system of saving daylight, that’s one more hour of early morning silence to sit through before the distractions can start. Back when I only worked three days a week, it was easy to stay up late every night, wake up tired on the days I had to work, and sleep in the mornings that I didn’t. I’d wake up around noon and sit in bed and write. I don’t do that so much anymore.

Somewhere along the way, I slept it off; sobered up on my own bullshit. Maybe not entirely, as I still sound like the self-loathing narcissist I always was, but at some point, I must have decided no one else wants to hear that nonsense. Everyone deals with their own brand of pathetic self-interest, so why talk about my own? What difference does it make in anyone’s life to hear that their basest negative emotions are the main thing they share with the rest of the human race? Our victories are our own. Our failures are just like everyone else’s.

And maybe that’s what Bradbury meant with the above line. If you stay drunk on the notion that someone needs to hear what you need to say, you can spend your whole life throwing words and phrases and personal revelations at people – who will catch them out of politeness, and maybe relate for a minute, but would have likely eventually come to the same conclusions on their own. Or maybe they wouldn’t, but in those case they probably didn’t need to.

But the moment you sober up – and realize that everyone’s been there, everyone has felt that thing, and you’re not discovering something new, but merely describing the same rock we’ve all tripped on a thousand times – you wonder, much like with a hangover, why you ever did that to yourself in the first place. Why waste the time? Why expend the effort? Why bother, if we’re all going to get here sooner or later – not as a group, but alone as ever – fall on our faces, dust ourselves off, and keep trudging toward the inevitable? “What’s the point,” a much wiser fellow than myself once asked me, “If there is no point?”

And what is the point of having this extra hour? This hour that was never extra, we just refer to it as such, until we have to give it back in the Spring. Is it a do-over for the hour before it that I slept through? Or perhaps an hour to keep in my pocket and use down the line in a moment where there’s not enough time? If only. I’m pretty sure it’s just a reminder; a symbol of all the time I’ve wasted wondering if there’s a point to what I’m doing. An hour I get to keep with me for the next six months, but never use, for fear that when the great counting comes, I might come up short.

The sun won’t be over the mountain beyond my East-facing windows for another four hours or so. It won’t be over the houses to the South until March. So do I get drunk on my own bullshit again and spout off semantics about the things we all know we face when Winter comes? Do I wax philosophical about politics and music and sadness?

Or do I just sit here? Staring, sober, into the darkness?

Who needs a drink?

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