Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New York Insomnia

Since I have been in New York I have been up way too late. All the time.

It is strange. The first night I was here I was up until about 1 or 2 am. Reasonable. Not an unusual time. Maybe a little later than usual. Then the next day it was 3 am. Then the next day it was 4 am. Then the night before last I was up til 6 am and slept until 10 am. I was thinking that if i forced myself only to get 4 hours of sleep I would somehow resume a more regular/reasonable sleep schedule. Then last night I was up until 3 am and again got up at 10. So that is fine. I'll keep getting up at 10 and that's fine. This lack of sleep makes me think about two things: coffee and time.

Since I have been visiting family in New York I have been settling into a bit of a routine. Getting up at 10, showering and listening to some music, driving to Barnes & Noble, like a 20 or 30 minute drive cause everything is spread out in Putnam Valley, getting some coffee, reading the book I am reading, and then looking at more books. I have been buying lots of books. That is probably not good I shouldn't be spending money but I have a hard time controlling myself. But anyways, talking to my sister about this routine she suggested the regular cups of coffee could be keeping me awake? But that doesn't make any sense I drink a lot of coffee pretty much all the time. It shouldn't be affecting my sleep, especially because I am drinking this coffee at like 11 am or thereabouts. Definitely shouldn't make me stay up til 3-6 am.

Then it makes me think about time because I knew a girl who had a penchant for staying up extremely late. Occupying herself throughout the night with various tasks. She told me that there was always something that you could do. And it's true, as I've been finding out. I remember when I first met her I thought this was strange. Just because I am used to the typical schedule that most people run by. So for a long time I always felt like night time was a sort of down time. A time when real things weren't really done. Then I just remembered that show 'Insomniac' with Dave Attell. All kinds of people do all kinds of different things in the middle of the night. Conceptions of time and social regulation. Clocks and conceptions of time. It's like, for the bulk of my life, and to this point, I definitely just take time for granted. Meaning that the way most people think of time. That we wake up in the mornings and we work our jobs during the day and night time we go to bed so we can do it again. Ummm, I don't have very developed thoughts on this topic. But, as a quick look at the internet showed, there are plenty of books written about the history of clocks and time. I wonder at what point most people were aware of clocks and time. Or at what point peoples lives really started to be changed by the idea of time/time measurement. I am also very curious about how the invention of the light bulb changed the way people conceived of time. Cause sure, sun goes down, no electricity, days over, sorry. It would be really hard to do things by candlelight. And I'm sure candles weren't the easiest thing to come by for some people. But then the day is extended by electricity. I have read something about when street lights were first put in city streets and that's pretty interesting stuff. I also know about a book about the history of air conditioners and how they facilitated the growth of schools and stuff in the South. I think the history of things that seem to have no history is really cool. These things have been part of my experience for my whole life, so it is interesting to see how it changed things. Anyways, that is enough of that.

This insomnia business has been enjoyable. I have been getting lots of work on this paper done. And have been listening to lots of music, chatting with friends, and watch some tv shows that I have been enjoying. I mean time means practically nothing to me these days.

I will admit, however, that losing the regularity of hours and days is a little bit disconcerting. It makes me feel like I am endlessly drifting forward in a sort of void. As opposed to moving through weeks and months, Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday. January February March April May June July August September October November December January February March April May June July August September October November December January February March April May June July August September October November December.

The calendar imposes a sense of order on my existence. I wonder if that heightens my sense of monotony at all. I bet it does. I've thought about this vaguely a number of times. Along with the repetition of work and education and life in society I bet it does make life seem more repetitious and less dynamic then it really is. I think this is where my big interest in dynamism comes from. The fact that it seems very easy for life to seem cyclical. I live days that have the same name but no day is ever the same. Nothing is ever the same as it was before. But it is useful to speak of them as if they were.

I wonder if life felt more dynamic before calendars. Probably not, because in order for there to be dynamism there had to be a sort of order. Dynamism comes into existence once there is a sense of order. Before that life was probably just life. You just did things with a certain sense of yourself and the days and age and time. But knowledge about time probably wasn't that elaborate for a long time. This is wild and outrageous speculation.

But anyways, I came from a world in which time was always highly ordered for me. So to have no obligations, (I have no job, no classes, nowhere to be these days), is highly unusual. When I said it makes me feel like I'm drifting in a void, I guess I mean that it makes existence feel much more constant. Sleep combined with the sun combined with the calendar does a good job of making my life feel segmented. It makes it seem like life is experienced in intervals. But no, when I sleep I'm literally just lying their breathing. I'm not really in touch with existence when I sleep. And so I guess you could say that not being able to sleep gives me an extreme awareness of how many hours my mind and body really exist for. It gives me a heightened awareness of my corporeal continuity.

Anyways, fuck sleep. I am doing lots of reading and writing and watching and thinking and shit. During the days, however, I do feel tired. BIIIIG OLD YAWNNNN right there.

I have the rest of my life to be on a schedule. I'll have a job soon. I'll be in graduate school soon enough. I'll be overloaded with obligations soon enough. I have my whole life to live by society's rules. I have my whole life to obey the all mighty clock and calendar. Right now I suppose I am just living as my body lives. Ummmm, I'm not sure what that means. I guess it means I am just living. My body regulates itself. Unfortunately society regulates me too.

So I guess that is the conflict. My body isn't obeying social standards of sleep and shit. And it feels strange because I have been indoctrinated into the culture of time pretty thoroughly. Whatevs yo. I'm just fucking around. I ain't got shit. Signing off. Perhaps I'll write another blog tonight if I can't sleep and feel the urge. Hollatchaboi.

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