Insomniac Rambling

I usually don’t mind my Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder much because it stopped mattering a long time ago, but every now and then I get a bug up my HPA axis and ten to thirty days of insomnia is the result — typically, zero to three hours of sleep per every 24 hours for five to seven days, followed by sleeping almost comatose for seven or eight hours, lather/rinse/repeat until the phase ends (apparently of its own accord) and normality, such as it is, is restored.

I’ve tried all the usual things, including the ill-advised things that every DSPD sufferer I’ve ever known has tried, like alcohol. I never went the narcotic route, don’t like the stuff all that much beyond very rare recreational use — that stuff makes ya stupid, and I don’t like stupid in myself or anyone else. I’m sure there’s a dick joke in that line, huh? Marijuana is helpful with routine sleep, but the insomnia laughs it off. The insomnia makes the high less enjoyable, but the high makes the insomnia less miserable so it’s strictly a damned if ya don’t situation. For me, that is. You’re not damned if you don’t. You might avoid incarceration if you don’t. That’s a good thing. Leaves more weed for me, too.

Light boxes, sleep hygiene, dietary supplements… nada. No improvement. This stuff comes when it comes and goes when it goes. I think. I know that none of that usual stuff makes any difference at all for me even though I really wanted it to. It doesn’t work for folks like me, not one of whom I’m aware and I’m aware of an internet conglomeration of them. So I’m really, really glad that I can set my own work hours — even if not always my own sleep hours.

It turns out that swearing off duh nooze and enduring insomnia are not as incompatible as one might at first expect. I saw something recently in which Elizabeth Warren fact-checked Schrimp by pointing out that it was GHW Bush who signed NAFTA, not Slick Willy. Liz is a smart, well informed woman, so it’s absolutely certain that she intentionally obfuscated the truth for the purpose of deception. In support of the most corrupt candidate to have secured a major party nomination in her lifetime. Holy fuck am I disappointed in Senator Warren. She ain’t winning my confidence back in this lifetime.

If you weren’t there for it, or weren’t paying attention: It’s true that King George The First signed the treaty with Mexico and Canada. But he couldn’t get Congress to ratify it. Almost all Democrats and not just one or two Republicans were opposed to it. Clinton took it up himself, swung the Democrats he needed to get it done, and nine months after his inauguration addressed the nation to announce:

So now you know why Senator Warren rightly belongs in the Bernie Bin. With all the other sellouts. Marked down for quick corruption. Take a handful, they’re nearly washed up.

So that, among other things, is why I avoid duh nooze. I’ve already lost so much faith in humanity that I’m about to start thinking of myself as being of some other, distinct species in the evolution of the line. Not necessarily better or worse or more or less advanced, just less god damned disgusting. And of course I’m not the sole member of this distinct species. There are quite a number of non-disgusting two-legged critters about, actually. It seems that most of them are young these days, which is refreshing because I’d been just shy of convinced for quite a while that No Child Left Behind was working.

I have found myself facing the prospect of soon having no remote servers under monthly system administration contract. Until that happens I’ll have been with servers under contract continuously since 1999. That means being interrupted at all hours and in all places by alerts from a monitoring system that believes there’s something I ought to know about — it might be that yet another lame-ass WordPress plugin has let yet another script kiddie very briefly own a web site on a server I administer, or some piece of a mail system has crashed so mail is backing up and very soon people will notice and become pissy about it, or maybe, and far more often the case, the office internet connection hiccuped for the hundred milliseconds or so it takes to convince the monitoring system that the thing it was in the middle of talking to has fallen offline.

It has become increasingly important to me that those remote systems under my care are the remnants of my life as fixer of the world. I want them gone. When it is their time to go, of course, so long as it’s soonish. It wasn’t until considering their imminent departure from my world that I realized that I haven’t had a job that ends since I was 18 years old. I’ve had a couple that looked cushy enough but soon imposed the overtime, weekends, travel, two and three day burnout sessions, pagers, cell phones… you pay the maintenance costs for the life you surrender to them. When a guy I used to work with heard about this gig of mine he exclaimed “You lucky fuck! On call for waking hours only!”. And though he was joking he was also being perfectly sincere. The meat grinder culture of the tech sector predates both the public internet and the ubiquitous personal computer. I’m ready to settle into a more comfortable groove and just write software, just until I’m done for the day, and not be beckoned by machines with indigestion to listen to them belch.

Not that insomnia and programming go at all well together. The ole workload is backing up and I’m trying not to let it weigh upon my mind because I have this odd hunch, probably self delusion, that part of my problem in keeping the old HPA under control is the chronic stress of those machines burping in my ear for decades. It’s been a long, long time since the alert tone from my phone that’s associated with my server monitoring system has been issued without me replying “fuck!”. I know that nineteen times out of twenty I can just dismiss the thing, but I’ve been reacting like every time is the twentieth. That’s not good, I don’t think.

It has suddenly occurred to me that it being so important to sleep when it’s time to sleep probably means that it’s equally important to relax when it’s time to relax. Without shrieking virtual crybabies and a never-ending series of emergencies that ain’t. Just doing my thing when it’s time to do it, and then letting the world get by without me holding its hand. That sounds nice.

I won’t know how to work it, but I’m a quick study.


One thought on “Insomniac Rambling

  1. Roadkill Spatula

    My sisters all have insomnia at times. I’m the lucky one in the family. I know one sister takes some type of melatonin and it works for her. I don’t know what the others do.

    I haven’t felt so foreign in America since I was in college and just off the plane from Colombia. This election, and even more so the reactions of many of my friends to the candidates, have me feeling like a total outsider.


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