April 15, 2000



Night Moods

  Nights tend to be kind of bad for me sometimes, following along in the tracks of that old cliché about "the long, dark hour of the soul." Nights, lying in bed waiting for sleep to come, are when my mind spins free to craft horrific, mortifying, dreadful "what-ifs" about the people in my life and the things I care about most deeply.

What if Zoe were abducted? What if Beth were killed in a mugging? What if the house caught fire while we were sleeping and I couldn't fight my way through the flames to get everyone out? What if Beth just disappeared off the face of the earth? What if Zoe was crossing one of those rope and plank bridges you see in those old movies set in the jungles of Africa and a plank broke just as she stepped on it and she plunged 500 feet into the raging river below? What if...?

These thoughts come from what I call the Idiot Brain, and it can be my own worst enemy. It latches onto an idea and just runs with it, crafting elaborate details and permutations and evil twists and playing and replaying it in my imagination over and over again. I see every detail, hear every sound, feel every emotion. It's not a lot of fun, I'm here to tell you, and it might just go a long way toward explaining why I tend to stay up all night -- if I don't go to bed until I'm exhausted, I'm much more likely to drop right off to sleep without the Lux Theater Broadcast of the Bizarre playing in my head.

Last night's mind matinee focused on me for a change. I was thinking about my accident, replaying it in my mind, trying to glean the small details and remember exactly how it happened, when a sobering thought occurred to me: what if I really wasn't okay? What if I was actually laid up in a hospital bed in a coma with half my face and a couple of limbs torn off, and everything I'd experienced since the accident was just my imagination? It was a very Twilight Zone thought and my head just went to town with it.

The more I thought about it the more plausible it seemed, even though the Inner Rational Mind was practically screaming "Are you kidding me? Please, give me a freakin' break!" But nobody ever listens to the IRM, do they? Instead, I lay there trying to sleep and jerking awake every time I started to drop off because the idiot side of my brain was afraid I'd wake up gorked. Every time I woke up I'd run my tongue along my teeth to make sure they were all still there (because losing half my teeth was part of the coma scenario), and then when they were there my mind seized on that as evidence that they weren't there. Logic? Who needs logic with an Idiot Brain in full swing?

I started picking things apart, looking for the loose threads in the illusion -- because dreams always have loose threads, don't they? Weird transitions, people doing things out of character that seem to make perfect sense, that sort of thing. Beth breathing in bed next to me? Why, that was just wrong. Beth doesn't breathe like that, she breathes like this. Clearly an illusion. Me lying on my back as I tried to sleep? Wrong, I never do that, I lie on my side. Illusion, everything illusion.

Everywhere I looked I saw loose threads, proof that I hadn't just walked away from that accident with just a few scratches. It got so bad that eventually I had to get out of bed and stare at my face in the mirror just to see that I did indeed still have all my teetd that I was indeed there. Not that it did any good -- Idiot Brain poked holes in that, too.

I finally went and sat in Zoe's room and watched her sleep. I was still finding evidence all around me that I was imagining it all, but if I was going to be laid up on a comatose, limbless, toothless deathbed and hallucinate that everything was still all right, then watching Zoe sleep was the hallucination I wanted to be having.

By morning's light, of course, everything was back to normal -- reality restored, Idiot Brain silenced, Twilight Zone plot points banished. Funny what doubling up on the recommended Vicodin dosage will do your head.

I think.

I'm voting for The Booth!  Aren't you?

Have you voted for The Booth yet?



[ Navbar for the faint of heart ]


Stop here.

Scroll no further.

Really, I'm telling you this for your own good.

Just stop.

In the name of all that's holy, please stop!

Okay, fine, don't.


Ow, my ass Ow, my leg Ow, my finger



Note to the more gory-minded or suspicious among you: I've included a few pics of my injuries down at the bottom of this entry. Don't go there unless you're one of the people who've requested proof, you like pictures of open wounds and nasty purple bruises, or you have a sick need to see my hairy white ass.

Consider yourself warned.