I stumbled over my slippers trying to find them in the dark and knocked over the glass of water by the bed. The glass made a huge clanking sound on the floor as it hit, spraying water all over me and one of the dogs that was sleeping by the dresser. My wife sat up in bed.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"I can't sleep and I was getting up," I said as I switched the light on to see if the glass broke. It hadn't but water was spewed across the floor and Kiley, one of the Siberian Huskies was shaking her coat and getting me even wetter. I picked up the glass.
"Why can't you sleep?" she said.
"Oh I don't know," I said as I started to clean up the water with a towel from the master bath. "I could give you a million reasons."
"Like what? she said as she laid down again.
"World problems...my problems...work problems... all the same old stuff," I said.
"Be more specific," she said. "Maybe we can talk them out of you."
I shut off the light and sat on the bed.
"Well let's see," I said. "There's conflict amongst some people at work, of course there is financial matters that concern me, the company truck needs some expensive things done to it, I have to buy more hay for the horse and I am not sure where I am going to get it...."
I heard snoring. She had rolled over and fallen asleep that quickly while I was talking to her. But I continued just to be sure she was asleep.
"...I worry whether Justin Bieber will throw up on stage again, what will we do if they cancel Honey Boo Boo, who will win on The Voice, will the next Star Trek movie be a real movie or another throwback to reset the timeline... you know, all those things..."
She didn't flinch.
I walked down the hall quietly knowing she hadn't heard hardly any of what I had said.
In a situation like this it used to be I would have turned on the television and let it drone me to sleep. You know the infomercials. But now instead I turn on the computer and look at the internet during the middle of the night.
I spend a lot of time reading newspapers from around the country on the web. Of course then there is what I call "interest drift" and that night there was a lot of it.
I was reading a story in The Oregonian and it mentioned something about the old television series Father Knows Best. That was one of my favorites when I was a kid and there was a link to a story about Billy Gray, the guy who played "Bud" on the show.
The story talked about child stars and where they had gone, and how many of their lives become a disaster after being a youngster in a television series. However it turns out that "Bud" had saved all his money from the show and while he has done little acting since the show ended all that money added up to quite a motorcycle collection. That link also took me to a YouTube clip where he talked about the show. But what he said wasn't what I wanted to hear in the middle of the night. He spent a lot of time complaining about how the show did really portray life as it was in the fifties, how it wasn't socially responsible because it had no minorities in it, that it was worthless, blah, blah, blah.
"Hell Bud," I said out loud in my living room in the middle of the night, "I was four years old when that show was on and I knew it wasn't for real. It was entertainment, not a social statement."
I looked over to the side and there was a video concerning one of my old time favorite horror movies "Monolith Monsters." I clicked on the first video and it played the first 10 minutes of the movie. It's a science fiction film cocerning these rocks (yes I said rocks) that come to earth. When they get wet they grow into huge Empire State Building like monoliths that collapse and then start to grow again. Of course right after they land in the desert in southern California (what 50s science fiction/space thriller doesn't take place there) it rains like it hasn't rained in 40 days and 40 nights. So these rocks grow and threaten to destroy a town. They have no intelligence, they are just chemical aborations from outside the earths surface. Highly entertaining these mindless rocks; kind of like people who troll the internet in the middle of the night.
After about three clips of the movie (there must be 10 of them) I decided not to watch it anymore because it did not give the the same thrill it did when I was five and saw it in the movies. But it made me wonder about minerals that can grow so I wandered off memory lane and into web world where I learned from a geology web site that there are things in rocks that can expand, but not to Sears Towers size. That brought me to a link to rocks that have been examined on Mars by the rovers.
I spend some time at that site, and then it started talking about how water probably formed the surface of Mars. One of those Google links to the side also pointed out I could learn about Bruno Mars, a rock star my wife likes. So I read a little about him and from there I got really hungry and went to the "candy cabinet" in my wifes office. I really wanted a Mars bar but there were none there and I was really ready for one. I had to settle for a half opened, dry, Kit Kat bar.
As I settled back at the computer with a glass of water to wash down the Gobi Desert like candy I wondered if candy stashes in houses had been documented and were common. I searched and found a game kids can play called Candy Stash, that someone had made a wallet just to stash candy and a YouTube video about someones huge candy stash. Then I found myself on a site that documents all the stuff that is in most candy that is bad for you including mouse droppings and insect parts.
This led me to the life cycle of the cochroach, which I happen to know something about because I was in the pest control business in the late 1980s for a year or so. As I stared at the screen reading about how they are insect rats it occurred to me that I ought to look at the time. It was 7:02 and light was coming in through the window above the desk. I hadn't even noticed.
I had just spent half the night absorbing what was intellectually absurd crap, while missing out on a good nights sleep. And nothing I read about solved any of the problems I had been worrying about as I had laid there in bed four hours before.
Sleep had excaped me, and so had any wisdom I might have gained from better fare.