Wednesday, 26 November 2008

I dream of turning the Beep-bip beep-bips into lovely gentle zzzeeeeees!

Beep-bip! Beep-Bip! Beep-bip!
No please no! I’m not ready to wake up yet. It’s still pitch black outside and -
Hang on. I don’t have an alarm clock. Well, I do, but I only use it when absolutely necessary, because I loath and despise alarm clocks.
There are scientists and philosophers all over the world trying to work out why western society has failed; why so many people are unhappy, bad-tempered and aggressive all the time.
Maybe it’s our diets, they wonder, or the chemicals in the water. Maybe it’s a side-effect of global warming or Cable TV.
Or maybe, like, duurrrr, just maybe it’s the fact that nobody has had enough sleep. Everyone with a job or children who need to go to school is woken up by a bleedin’ alarm. Ripped cruelly aforetime from their vital slumbers, innit.
How hard is this to grasp? If your alarm wakes you up, then you are ignoring a biological imperative. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Creationist or a Darwinian, you can’t stand there and tell me that you can live without sleep. Sleep isn’t a funny little afterthought added in by God to give him some time off. It’s not an aberrant evolutionary behavioural mutation designed to give predators an even chance of scoring their dinner.
Sleep is vital, and sleep is lovely, a time for our bodies to repair damage; a time for our subconscious brains to drip-feed us in dreams the horrific secrets of our true natures.
Sleep is snuggly and -
Beep-bip! Beep-Bip! Beep-bip!
I look at my clock.
5:13 am.
Before the shape of the word ‘bastards!’ can form in my mind, I am angry. It’s not an alarm clock, but that bloody truck again. There has always been a truck that delivers to the hotel behind my bedroom window. It arrives around 7 am, and I have grown used to it, aware how very lucky I am not to have to be already up and scurrying around. But now there is this new truck, which arrives sometime around 5 every morning, making just enough noise to wake me up, with a mere 30 seconds of
Beep-bip! Beep-Bip! Beep-bip! Beep-bip! Beep-Bip! Beep-bip!
as it reverses down into the hotel’s service area.
As I say, my first response is one of anger, because this hotel and its attendant never-ending building programme has been my nemesis ever since I moved to this house.
But equally, I am a mature adult with at least half a brain and probably two-thirds of a heart, and am well able to put matters into perspective.
The noise lasts for 30 seconds. There is no banging or crashing, not like a few months back when the recycling company used to empty and replace the mega-skips outside the site between 4 and 5 in the morning.
I still feel slightly guilty about the poor driver of those skip transporters. The young lad was only doing his job, and yet, one morning, was confronted by an insane rabid bear in a dressing gown doing an impersonation of Tony Soprano on amphetamine sulphate. As I raged shouted and screamed at this driver, he rather excellently and admirably managed to blank me completely, which believe me was no small achievement, as my roar and growl tore the summer dawn tranquility into tatters, terrifying the local wildlife into thinking that an earthquake was taking place.
Happily, that matter has now been resolved but this new truck is a different matter. A reasonable person would just smile, wrap the duvet around them and feel smug and thankful as they dozed back to sleep, aware that out there that poor trucker is catching a couple of hours of shuteye before his first drop of the day.
Trouble is, when I’ve been woken night after night after night at 5 in the morning, after having tried to concentrate all day on tiny vital editing details accompanied by the constant banging crashing and yes, beep-bipping of the building site that still continues four years later, I’m not a very reasonable person.
Not at all.
Add to that the sad fact that at the moment I am like a teenager possessed by a poltergeist, the overwhelming energy of working on the book’s final edit coursing around my blood vessels like the Severn Bor.
The second that I am awake my mind immediately fills with a thousand bookish details, and then as my natural anxiety builds, other less worthy shite strolls into my mind.
Bastards bastards. I’m going to write them a letter and get them to stop this truck delivering so early.
No, no you’re not. They’ve had scores of letters from you already and it hasn’t made a blind bit of difference. Just go back to sleep, man.
But why should I have to put up with it?
Because it’s not about you, idiot. Yer man didn’t design his hotel to piss you off. The truckie didn’t reverse down the drive to upset you. You just got angry, you sad git. Now go back to sleep.
But how dare he not reply to any of my letters? How rude is that?
Well he did call you on the phone.
Yeh, but only when I sent a copy of my third letter to the hotel’s manager, and then he only left a message on the phone, leaving no contact number. So he’s covered his arse. He can say he tried to get in touch, but he didn’t really.
Cute hoor. Is he what the Irish would call a cute hoor? He really knows how to work the planning permission system, that’s for sure.
Seems to me, in Ireland, if you want a gym and a bar, first you must apply for permission to build a wall with 50 bricks. You build a wall with only 35 bricks and then apply for permission to have another 20 bricks to add to your spares, so that you can add an extension to your wall. After the extension is built you apply to put a roof over it, and add a gym underneath it. When you’ve built the gym you ask for a bar to go over the gym and ... let it go, man. Sleep, for pity’s sake. It’ll be light in a minute. Rise above. Zen it out. All is good. Drift off, oooh, yeh, yeh, that’s it, lovely ...
Beep-bip! Beep-Bip! Beep-bip!
Bugger - there’s the 7 am truck already.

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