What am I doing up at 4:00 a.m. Doesn’t matter. Exciting thought. Times and dates are less important than they used to be. I like that. Well…still somewhat important. We need to be in Ladson by 1:30 this afternoon because we have tickets to the circus. There should be some good shots to take. Colors, action. Maybe go with a slower shutter speed and allow some blurring to show action. Of course Karen and I will have Noah and Conner with us which probably means I’ll be shooting one-handed. I wonder what the grandchildren will think. We took Brian to the circus when he was Conner’s age and he was terrified of the clowns.
The house is absolutely quiet except for the hum of the air conditioner. Or is it the refrigerator? I watch the second hand on the clock on the wall next to three slowly deflating helium balloons. I think this is the only non-digital clock in the house.
From our bedroom, I head Noah making some almost-crying noises. He is with Karen. Brian and Melody have the weekend to themselves in Myrtle Beach for Melody’s birthday. I was upstairs with Conner in their room. He woke up. I woke up. He went back to sleep. I wandered down here thinking it was 6 or 7.
Four a.m. Barclay is asleep upstairs after regaling us last night with a tale about being in a bar with two other doctors in Kenya, befriending some people who turned out to be Congolese rebel leaders who wanted them to take diamonds out of the country. How the three doctors suddenly sober with fear created an elaborate ruse to sneak out of the bar and drove all night to Nairobi. Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart. Black and White. The story would have been more thrilling if Conner had not been tired, crying, needy.
The sound of the refrigerator has stopped. I can actually hear the clock ticking. I think this is the only clock in the house that ticks. I think of reading a book. Hey! I have time to do that now! Barclay recommended Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I remembered visiting his hometown in Colombia in 1970. Seeing the foundation of his house, the old couple who remembered the author as a child.
Hundred years of solitude. I should read one of his other books. I could read it in Spanish! My Spanish, self-taught, sucks. I should take a course and become good at it. I can do that now!!
I should go back upstairs and get some more sleep before tomorrow. The circus. But my mind is spinning with possibilities. Maybe I should write a blog or a poem. My guitar is in the other room – I took it out of the closet yesterday and set up the amp. My fingers got sore after 10 minutes. It needs restringing. I shouldn’t play it now. Everyone is asleep.
I stretch my left arm, still tight and sometimes sore from breaking it in November. I could do some sit-ups.
Sit-ups at 4:00 am. Well, by now it is almost 4:30! And I really need to shed about 40 pounds. Maybe I’ll get into learning to cook in more interesting ways. Try some new recipes.
Or go outside in the moonlight and see if I still remember some of my Tae Kwon Do forms. It would be good for my shoulder. Painful, but good. No pain, no gain.
The refrigerator clicks on again and hums. I hear Conner stirring upstairs. If he wakes up more, I’ll go change his diaper. He must be wet. He makes one short wail and is quiet. From somewhere in the dark house, Bill, the huge white Himalayan, responds with a loud meow. It is quiet again.
Maybe I’ll open up the old files that contain the mystery novel I never finished writing. Or Bagman, Butler, and I could write a funny commentary on American life. Or go to Costa Rica.
No wonder I can’t sleep! So many possibilities. Yesterday was the first day of retirement. Somewhere across town my office is empty, walls bare, hard drive cleaned, nothing in the desk drawer but paperclips. I haven’t thought about it once in over 30 hours. Until now. And the thought leaves without a ripple.
No wonder I can’t sleep. This is like Christmas on steroids.