Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

Walls, The Kind You Walk Into

with 4 comments

It is now Thursday, and last night marked the fifth time in a row that I couldn’t manage to get myself to sleep before two o’clock in the morning.

Actually, the two o’clock was good news.  On a couple of occasions over this stretch, I have not been able to get to sleep before four, or I’ve gotten to sleep for about an hour and then woken up at five thirty. When I don’t get to sleep until four, I wake up at nine and the day is a mess and ruined.

It’s gotten to the point where I can’t figure out what would make this better. 

Usually, if I don’t get to sleep until two on Day 1, then on Day 2 I crash very early and the whole cycle rights itself. 

But nothing like that is happening at the moment, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do to get back on schedule before I start teaching next week.

In the meantime, I feel like I’m walking through cotton wool, and my brain is stuffed with fuzz, and I’m not getting nearly enough done.

I might be more patient with myself about all this if my mind was racing through the night on some problem of serious importance.

And I’ve got a few, and that could be what I was thinking of.

Instead, I seem to be obsessing about things that make no sense and make no difference. 

I keep replaying arguments I had months or years ago–or, worse, rewriting them in a way that makes me make the points I couldn’t think of at the time.

Or I obsess about plots, or books I’ve read, or something.  And my mind goes into overdrive and just won’t stop.

The result is that I do things that are completely nuts.  I just tried to send an e mail, and instead of clicking on the “send” button, I clicked on the “save” button and had to go work it all through again.

It gets to the point where I can’t even do what I usually do to calm myself down.  I can’t play Solitaire, for instance, because I fuzz out and miss half the moves and mistake the cards and lose over and over again and get frustrated and annoyed with the whole thing.

And if I’m tired enough, I start thinking that all the losing is a Secret Coded Message from the Universe  which means…

I don’t know what it means.  I can never get quite clear on that.

It is one of the very peculiar things about me that I am sometimes very superstitious, but I don’t believe in any of the traditional superstitions.  I have no trouble with black cats or the number thirteen or cracking mirrors or throwing salt over my shoulder–although I do always kiss bread before I throw it out.

That’s a Greek thing.

But even when I was a very small child, I would go through periods where I would invent superstitions out of whole cloth, and then find myself unable to convince myself that they were nonsense, even though I knew very well I made them up.

If you’re going to say this makes no sense, I agree with you.  It makes none whatsoever. 

But I do it, and no appeals to common sense seem to be at all capable of talking me out of it.

In the meantime, things have to be done because things have to be done.  Neither my life nor the world at large goes on hold because I’m behaving like an addled ninny.

Fortunately, bulling things through is something I’m generally good at.  How well I bull things through is another story, but you’ve got to go with what you’ve got.

All of this is by way of saying that the lack of blog posts has been as much a matter of this as of anything, because there’s another hallmark of the times when I get like this:  I begin to fell that I really have nothing to say.

And maybe that’s true.

Maybe the secret underneath all the blathering we do about everything from the plots of cat detective novels to the meaning of life is that it’s all completely irrelevant to…everything. 

Reading the comments on this blog, I am sometimes bemused by the extent to which some of you see the apocalypse coming Right This Minute. 

The whole thing gets even more curious because you don’t all see the same Apocalypse coming.  Maybe we’ll all die because the ordinary people will rise up against their government/corporate/academic elite masters, or maybe the corporations will mechanize everything to the point where human work is no longer needed and we’ll all starve to death.

This morning, it feels to me as if none of this will ever happen, because it would require absolutely everybody to expend too much effort.

Which reminds me, of course, that I need to go expend some more effort myself.

Written by janeh

January 16th, 2014 at 11:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses to 'Walls, The Kind You Walk Into'

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  1. Reading the comments on this blog, I am sometimes bemused by the extent to which some of you see the apocalypse coming Right This Minute

    Not this minute but coming. At least two things worry me.

    First, the US and western Europe have spent the last 60 years solving today’s problems with tomorrow’s money. And I think tomorrow is about to arrive.

    Second, so many educated people seem to hate their own societies and are unwilling to defend their countries. Think of the arguments about illegal immigration or “profiling” young Muslim men as possible terrorists.


    16 Jan 14 at 6:27 pm

  2. The coming Big Crunch: I haven’t been consulting Mayan Calendars or Nostradamus, but I do read the occasional book of real (political/military)history. I note that while a single incompetent ruler is readily dismissed by the Central Committee, killed or voted out of office as the customs of the country dictate when the entire political class isn’t up to the job, you have a much more serious problem–the sort of thing which can end with the fall of Western Rome, the French or Russian Revolutions or the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

    Sticking to the United States–because we’re different, of course!–we swap out Presidents at four or eight years without missing a beat, but it’s very uncommon that we change where our Presidents come from–tidewater planters down to 1824, border chieftains until 1860, men with experience with law and business until 1932, and preppies with Ivy League degrees and NO experience outside politics thereafter.

    The War of 1812 seems to have been the doom of the tidewater planters. At least no merchant, manufacturer or frontier settler would ever vote for another. The end of the frontier clan chiefs was the American Civil War–and the end of the business-connected lawyers was the Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression. I look at our current political class, which regards making law for the nation as an entry-level job, and the Oval Office as a good place to pick up managerial experience. “Incompetent” doesn’t begin to cover them. So I conclude that there will be a new political class fairly soon, and that the transition would be better read about than lived through. If someone has a counterargument, I’d be interested, but I don’t regard “it can’t happen here” as an argument. It obviously can and has happened here–and everywhere else. It will again.

    jd, I’m not sure about “right this minute,” but I don’t think the present order has 30 years, and I don’t really think it has twenty. I can’t see the mechanism, but one often can’t. Who would have expected Louis XVI to convene the Estates General? But it was fairly easy to see that a regime of incompetent monarchs, vast public debts and untaxed wealth was going to come to SOME bad end, and fairly quickly.


    16 Jan 14 at 7:14 pm

  3. Robert, 30 years gives us 2044 which is about when social security is predicted to run out of money. Those will be “interesting times”. But I don’t expect to live to 108 so its not my problem!


    17 Jan 14 at 7:28 pm

  4. “In the long run, we’re all dead” indeed? That has a familiar ring. Actually, as I understand it, Social Security’s expenditures exceeded its revenue a few years ago. In less than 20 years, the bonds in the Social Security holdings will all have been sold, and Social Security Revenue will be about 3/4 of expenses until the Boomers die off–only a portion of an overall government problem of commitments without matching revenue.
    But I’m already too old to be a desirable refugee. If the crunch comes in 15 years, I’ll be 76. Remember those ex-Soviet pensioners in Red Square with pictures of Stalin? I can about see myself with a picture of Reagan, then going home to a house I can’t heat or pay taxes on.
    That’s assuming the new regime doesn’t do something about useless mouths, of course: Stalin’s Red Square was not troubled by Tsarist pensioners.


    17 Jan 14 at 10:53 pm

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