Curiouser and curiouser

This is what happens when I wake up curious in the middle of the night…
–Me

When I wake up in the middle of the night I sometimes find myself heading down a rabbit hole.

It might be a rabbit hole involving a book, or a niggling idea that wants poking at, or even a series of messages needing to be sent. I do love writing at night, and I am appallingly indiscriminate about it at times.

Oh, the late night blogs and text messages.

If you are on my late night “send” list, I apologize. I can’t be held responsible for what I might do and say under the influence of insomnia. I do try to redirect myself to other forms of writing as much as I can, but I am only and eternally human.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a weird question in my head.

More than once that has resulted in purchasing books I might otherwise never have read.

Or sometimes it’s a song or movie I can’t quite place. Googling ensues. What did people do in the middle of the night before the Internet? Did insomniac movie buffs just have to have unanswered questions about how many movies Bette Davis was in where she played twins?

Two, but I always think it’s three because I can’t ever remember that “Dead Ringer” is the movie it actually is.

Last week I woke up during the night and looked at my phone to see what time it was. It was after 0200. I saw I had a message on a dating app. I put my phone down and snuggled back into bed without reading it because it was the middle of the night. But then I was too curious about what the message said to go back to sleep. Which is silly, because usually the messages are really boring.

I picked up my phone and read the message and the sender’s profile. He looked just like the Dude. He was up in the middle of the night making donuts and new friends. We chatted for a little while about how the Dude’s sweater is different from Starsky’s sweater, why he would love Burning Man, and the awesomeness of kilts.

He said “when you went to bed a few hours ago did you think you’d end up talking to someone about Burning Man in the middle of the night?” “Not really, but this is what happens when I wake up curious in the middle of the night.” Then I went back to sleep.

It was an odd, unexpected sort of a thing. The sort of thing that happens when you give in to curiosity.

An imaginary conversation about people who wear cologne

Is it OK to kill people who wear cologne? Especially people at work?

YES! No question. They deserve death.

I’m glad someone agrees.

Totally. I’m not against fragrance in general, but you shouldn’t be able to smell it from more than neck nuzzling distance.

I’m suffocating because the guy in the cubicle behind me is wearing a shit ton of it. It’s not a horrible smelling scent, but I can’t fucking breathe.

Death seems appropriate.

On the other hand…

NO SECOND CHANCES!!!

Hear me out: if I pin a note to my dress explaining why I suffocated and died, he will feel bad forever. I’d like that, and all humanity would be better off because he would mend his ways out of guilt.

That is a great point, but he should be the one who dies in this scenario. We’d miss you if you died.

Even if he would be punished more if I die? I’m willing to make that sacrifice for the good of humanity.

You are practically a saint.

Or I could sack up and just tell him that his cologne not only makes me sick, but violates our company’s  “fragrance fee” policy.

That seems a little extreme.

Like…communicating directly…

Who does that?

Exactly. Oh good–now he is sneezing too.

Is he connecting it to his own bad acts?

No. I need to hurry up and die or he’ll think it’s just a coincidence.

Make sure the note explaining your demise is pinned firmly to your dress. You don’t want it to fall off when you fall gracefully to the floor.

I should write the note in gold Sharpie, don’t you think? Maybe on red or black paper?

Good idea. It would add flair.

It’s important to die dramatically if it’s to benefit humanity. There is a side benefit, too.

What’s that?

I’m coming down with a cold.

I’m not following…

Have you ever been around me when I have a cold?

Apparently not. Are you awful?

I like to think I am.

You like to?

Yes, I pretend to be awful and demanding when I’m sick. In real life, though, if people just leave me alone I’m fine.

Do they?

If they’re smart. Don’t laugh. I can be terrible to behold at times. Especially if someone tries to be nice to me when I’m sick.

I’ve known you a long time and haven’t beheld anything too awful.

Of course you haven’t because I stay in my cave when I’m sick.  You won’t tell anyone I’m not horrible will you?

Your secret is safe with me!

An imaginary conversation about anger

Why do you get so upset when you think I’m angry?

I don’t. Your being angry isn’t about me.

You are quick to push it back on me when you do something would make any normal person angry, or at least irritated. I’m not angry as often as you think I am, anyway.

Bullshit.

There are things that I get mad about, just like there are things you do.

Don’t I apologize when I do something you don’t like?

Sure. But then after telling me it will never happen again, it does.

No.

Yes. And each time you apologize and say it won’t happen again.

I shouldn’t apologize?

You should actually stop doing the thing that makes me angry in the first place if it’s a reasonable request.

I do what I say I’ll do.

For a while. A  month. A year. But that’s achieved by not talking to me at all.

That’s not true.

It is true. It feels like you punish me for speaking up.

No…

Or like that’s all you have to say to me. It’s all on your terms or there’s nothing at all.

Definitely not that.

Do I have to keep guessing?

No…

No? Are you embarrassed? Angry? Sad? Afraid?

A little bit. I don’t handle anger well. I withdraw.

Do you think you might be too quick to see it even when it doesn’t exist?

I guess, but mostly I just can’t handle it when people react to me with anger.

So much that you handle it by punishing me with silence for speaking up about how I feel?

Now you’re angry.

No, now I am asking you questions that you find uncomfortable and you are attempting to deflect it onto me by saying I’m angry so you have an excuse to avoid a conversation.

I can’t talk when you’re like this!

What, logical?

No, emotional.

I’m a little of each at the moment. Feelings make a person feel. Not angry, for the record. Still. The question stands.

What is the question?

Why you shut down when any actual emotion is displayed?

I don’t think I do.

So when I disagree with you, or ask you not to treat me a certain way, you’re totally fine with it?

I guess I was hoping I could have it both ways.

You mean you want to have your cake and eat it too.

Well. It sounds shitty, but pretty much.

Am I I ever unclear about how I feel about things, usually?

No. You’re annoyingly clear about what you don’t like about me.

Thanks for putting it so kindly. I’m pretty clear about the things I do like, too aren’t I?

Yes, you are. But you’re fixated on the bad stuff.

It’s really just one particular bad thing over and over.

Don’t be mad. I can’t talk to you when you’re mad!

If anything I am puzzled. And sad.

Why?

About why I continue to let you play this game with me.

It’s not a game.

It shouldn’t be. So if I seem angry right now, you’re right. But not at you. At myself.

It’s not that simple.

It is. It really is. You just have to treat me like a real live human being with feelings.

I feel like you push me away. I am thinking about everything you’ve said.

That’s good. I’m not sure if I can keep this up if all I get out of it is what you want. There isn’t much in it for me.

Don’t give me an ultimatum.

It isn’t an ultimatum, it’s a clarification of my feelings.

I’m a good person.

Yes, you are. So am I.

Yes.

Let’s just treat each other that way, can we?