I don’t know about you, but my night-time world can get a bit crazy sometimes. Or maybe it’s more that crazy can seem perfectly normal when I am lying there, neither awake nor asleep.
Am I the only one who feels at times that I only put my world back together after I wake up? Not everything slots back perfectly into place, but it all fits, kind of.
It’s like waking up is a kind of muzzy rearranging of the cosmic furniture, only I am often left with the uncanny feeling that everything isn’t exactly the way it was. It might explain why we end up with so many odd socks in our house.
Before that, as I flit in and out of sleep, random thoughts and worries get mixed in with past events and current neighbours and present day people wander around in places from my past. The usual stuff of dreams, of course.
And then it can get really strange.
Just last night, it must have been around 4am I found myself awake and unable to get back to sleep. Trouble was I actually believed I had lost the ability to sleep and that I had left time and space as we know it behind.
That’s right, just like that, I was as convinced then that the tyres had slipped off the wheels of time, as I am certain now that time is an arrow flying in one direction, as represented by the clock on my phone which read 9.15 when I looked just now. And it will read 9.16 in one minute. Sorted.
But what strikes me the most now about last night’s post-time wanderings was the panic and distress I felt because I was going to miss out on all that was going to happen in my kids’ lives.
I was done, I’d had my shot, as it were, and this was where I was getting off the world. My stop. But my wife and kids were still on board. Let me on!
I was horrified and saddened beyond words at the prospect of missing out on my kids growing up. They are only 12 and 14, for God’s sake!
Just the other day, O was playing for his new soccer club in Dublin’s top league in his age group. It’s an exciting adventure, and you can see how much it means to the kids and to all the parents. We were more nervous even than the kids before the match, and trying not to show it to them or each other.
There’s more people looking on, the whole thing is more organised. It’s a buzz.
The boys lost their opening match last week. Gave a really good account of themselves but went down 2-0 — even if the first goal was hugely controversial.
All the kids were convinced the ball had gone over the endline for a goal-kick, and one of their players kicked it in temper against the near goal-post, from where it rebounded out and one of their players kicked it to the unguarded net. And the ref allowed it!
One of those unfit, barely move beyond the middle circle officlals, who nonetheless can say for certain the ball was not over the line. Even with all of our team and coaches letting him know otherwise. And the other team celebrating sheepishly.
This week, the match kicked off 20 minutes late. I was working so now I could only catch the first half. It was 0-0 when I left.
My wife was now my reporter on the spot and I was glued to my phone on the way in on the bus to town. Funny talking of time as an arrow, my incoming text signifier is the sound of an arrow quivering as it hits a target.
Thwang! One nil to our boys. A penalty. Twenty minutes to go. Ten minutes later: thwang! Two-nil. And so it remained.
I was not there and could not influence anything. I just waited for news. Not that I could have swayed anything when I was at the match either, but I felt less helpless. And I could cheer and exhort the team and our O.
I know, all very adult. But I hated not being there. And lying in bed in that semi-deranged state of mind last night, I felt even more helpless.
I was going to miss out on very match that would ever be.
Of course it all passed. I knew I had been asleep when the dull thud of an incoming tweet on my phone beside the bed woke me briefly, and then I awoke fully to the real tweets of the morning birdsong outside our window.
Hello world, I’m back!
You can interpret my night time ramblings any way you want: as the ravings of a tired mind, or as lucid pointers towards living a more fulfilled life.
Which struck me forcibly when my wife looked up from where she was reading the latest post from a teacher in our kids’ old primary school who has undertaken a fantastic mission.
On his retirement last year, Dermot Higgins set out to become the oldest man to cycle around the world, no less.
And today, my wife told me now, Dermot, of Go Go Dermo fame, as he has christened his expedition, informed his readers he was dedicating the day’s cycle near Los Angeles to a boy who used to be in O’s class in his first few years of primary school.
This boy, Dermot told us, is undergoing chemotherapy. We don’t know what illness he has, but the news really did go thwang! in my heart, and in O’s when we told him.
I am sure this young boy wants to stay on board this world as long as he can. As his parents, brother and sister, friends … everyone … will want him to.
As I do. Want to stay on. So much to see and do.