There are some nights when something happens just as the dream train is pulling out of pillow station and I fall back onto the platform of startling consciousness. Then, whatever I do about it, the next train on the line is the milk-train that chugs through, without proper sleeper accommodation, just before dawn, then, bang! you’re slammed up against the buffers of the inexorable new day to the clatter of the alarm clock. Unrefreshed. Unsatisfied. Unawake and unaware of all of the potential of the new day. And what’s worse as you lie awake at night is listening to the sound of the Queen of the Chooks as her breathing goes rattling over the points on her own personal slow-train of sleep.
You may have gathered by now that last night was one of those when, startled by something-and-nothing at the last minute of boarding unconsciousness, I found myself back on the cold shore of alertness watching the tail-light of sleep disappear down the tracks. I lay there for probably hours and then got up and meandered around the usenet groups that I haunt from time-to-time. On one group there was a thread about the use of technology that was getting longer by the minute; some other sleepless sod was sitting at his own PC banging out replies to every single one of the preceding 60-odd posts and had been doing so for about five hours. Fascinating to watch another brain at work before your eyes in that way, but come five o’clock I was shattered and frozen with sitting up in an unheated house in the frost and went back to bed to snuggle up to a warm lady and catch that old milk train all the way to the end of the line again.