This is another piece for the Quilcene Community Center Newsletter, modified a bit for realsurfers. Oh, and let me complain, first thing, about how I’ve been too busy to chase surf or do anything serious on my manuscript for “SWAMIS.” No time today, either.
Have trouble sleeping? Sure, maybe it’s just too hot, maybe there’s too much on your mind. Worries. Here’s what I do on those rare occasions when even contemplating something like counting backwards from one hundred does not put me under, out, somewhere on the trolley to dreamtown: It’s like a mantra, like meditation for the shallow thinker. I merely repeat, silently (usually), “Nothing, nothing, nothing…”
The next thing I know I’m at some exotic location (this is merely a recent example), say, an elevator with glass walls, descending; me and a few well-dressed folks, strangers, sophisticates, each one with a large wine glass in his or her hand, each one obviously enjoying the bouquet, each one skilled in the twirl. Each socialite, in turn, turns to me. A woman asks, “Merlot?” as if it’s a joke I wouldn’t get; a man hisses, “Zin-fan-del.” I hear myself answer. “Chase,” I say, feigning a Katherine Hepburn accent, “And Sandborn. Never actually developed a taste for wine, but I must say,” twirling the crystal stemware as I continue, noting that all the others, each one looking at me, stops twirling their glasses. “I do love me a fancy wine glass.”
The other revelers look away. There’s a ‘ding’ and the elevator doors open.
I wake up. Briefly. “Nothing, nothing, nothing…”
There are, perhaps, some twilight moments between the last ‘nothing’ and when I, inevitably, go back to dreaming of surfing (usually of trying to get to somewhere to surf) or painting. It’s what I do and what I have done for fifty-two years. Seems logical.
I didn’t really want to write about dreams, but because I’m always influenced by recent events, I can’t help but think how happy I am that I am not one of the people I saw yesterday, butchers; out in the sun behind the cleanest, shiniest, best equipped portable slaughterhouse I’ve ever seen. Butchers. Two of them, with three recently killed hogs on the gravel waiting to be hung up and skinned and disemboweled and…
No, I didn’t really look; I just kept painting the barn. I did notice they weren’t talking to each other. No music was playing. This was serious. When they left, all that remained was some blood on the gravel. Not that much. Still, I wondered about what haunts their dreams.
Nothing, nothing, nothing.
As far as waking up goes, it’s a different sort of program in getting myself motivated to roll out of bed when I had awakened forty-two minutes earlier than I planned (it varies- something under an hour on average). This isn’t from me worrying. More likely it’s some sort of urinary clock. Still, it’s an irritating interruption, particularly if there is no way I could get a nap during the day.
This lack of a solid sleeptime is way less irksome on those pre-dawns, based on swell forecasts and some level of hope for the best, in which I have awakened, checked the buoy readings, decided there might be actual waves somewhere on the Strait, and that I’d better get going to beat those other seekers who have the same dream.
Yeah, but work; painting with the sweating and climbing and all… a tougher sell.
However, there’s a tried-and-true procedure. All I have to do is start worrying. Yeah, it’s summer and there’s more work, but what about winter? What about the drought? What about the snowpack? It’s clearly gone. Oh. What about the virus and the failing infrastructure and the perpetual logjam in Congress? What if someone sees me without a mask and thinks I’m one of those free-riders who never got vaccinated? What about bills and… durn; where did I leave my keys? The checkbook? The bill for… money; what about… money?”
It isn’t that the mantra for getting motivated always switches to “Money, money, money,” but, what is true of worrying is that, when something is taken off my personal worry list, I merely move something else into the spot.
Conclusion: The things that keep you up also get you up.
Please don’t misinterpret this. I’m worried you will.
OKAY, the parts I changed were in the dream thing. The slaughtering of the pigs was at a farm where I was helping the preparation of the barn for a wedding to be held there. Two surfers/farmers, Cass and Niles, and some other young farmer wannabes, including Natalie, to whom Niles is to be married, right about now. live on the property. There’s at least one good story in this; maybe two if I include how I got all manic and verbally assaulted Cass’es father, ‘Rip’ Curl (easy to figure out why). Farmers, right now, are too busy to surf. Must be frustrating. You’ll have to wait for those stories. Don’t worry, I’ll get to them.