Life, Writing

Alice No Sleep, While Wind Plays Bong Gongs*


I write this with tired eyes, because, as the title suggests, I have had little sleep, having been woken at 2:30 this morning by what sounded like someone continually beating a gong**. This isn’t the first time. Whenever the wind gets up enough, which it has been doing frequently over the last two months, the resonating beats from the steel buildings opposite make the offending noise. When it first happened, I was genuinely scared someone might be trying to hammer a window in with a crowbar***. Either that or I was being serenaded by someone really quirky.

In any case, the wind was acting like a highly-struck, attention seeking neighbour, playing the gong for reasons of art and self-expression, and I was rendered to laying awake in the dark^. And, as is my perpetual habit, I listened to the wind throwing rain in a tantrum outside, and started to contemplate. Now, I’m a well-rounded existentialist thinker most of the time^^, but recently pulled from a deep slumber and thrust into the dead hours, it’s a gamble as to whether my thinking will push me gently back into sleep, or have me weeping and walking around the house, pondering the futility of my existence^^^.

Lately, I’ve been preoccupied by certain matters in life, and haven’t actually been spending a lot of time just brain-storming. Between working and organizing, and trying to keep some semblance of a social life, I just haven’t been caught in the quiet moments in order to just think. Even with the clangs of wind, 2:30am*^ is always a quiet time. There’s nothing more pleasurable, wherever you are, when you are craving some time to just process, than knowing the world sleeps around you.  It’s like having some private time with the Universe, like it’s made a little time in running the ongoing cosmos to reach out to me.

Some of the best ideas I’ve had sprang from middle-of-the-night thinking. It’s why I keep a notebook by my bed at all times^*. But I didn’t feel like reaching for it. It wasn’t a great idea kind of night.

I lay in the darkness, barely moving under my covers, just glad to be warm, when I knew outside was cold. I remember being cold; I remember the snowy winter of my final year of University, unable to run the heater for more than an hour or so a day. I remember shivering and being able to see my breath, all while trying to write a dissertation and pull myself up from the break-up from hell. And I was happy, to be warm and comfortable, if awake, in a bed I shared with someone I loved, even in his absence. I was grateful, grateful for small things I actually used to think about often, but had recently let fade into something I took for granted.

Because back when I was cold and felt abandoned, I promised I would always be grateful for warmth and closeness.

When I get a cold, I do the same. Whenever my nose is all blocked up with yucky stuff, and my throat is raw, I always make a vow never to take for granted the ability to breathe through my nose and and eat without noticing my oesophagus. Yet, when I get better, I go on doing those things as I always had before. Without much consideration to how amazing they are.

Okay, this post is getting deeper than I intended. This was supposed to be about the wind keeping me up, but now the title just feels like a lie. It’s jokey. Wasn’t this going to be jokey? Oh well, we’re in now, folks.

I thought a lot about my past in that odd space, surrounded by darkness, lost to the hours, at the mercy of the rain, and I thought a lot about now, and the space between those two points in my life. The years beat by to the rhythm of the wind gong**^, and probably for the first time ever comparing one stage of my life to another^** , I felt secure in who I was, where I am, and where I’m going. Mostly. Which is a far cry from past years when I have pondered whether I have accomplished anything at all.

Improvement^*^*. It’s this kind of thing which makes me feel like I’m getting the hang of being an adult, if such a thing is attainable below the age of 100. However, this grand revelation happened because I thought the wind was someone playing a gong outside the window, so I have to wonder whether I can be trusted with such deep insights, if in fact that is what they are.

Still, it’s always nice to find gratitude and contentment in your life, even if you are rendered a useless heap at work the next day because you got a free front row seat to a wind gong concert, and partied all night long.

And by ‘partied’, I mean not sleeping*^^*.





*Yes, that title is a reference to a particularly funny episode of a popular american sitcom.

**The image which comes to mind during the roused daze of stupid am, is a small Chinese man, complete with fu-man-chu and changschan, standing beneath the window trying to play Bohemian Rhapsody on a handheld gong. Apparently, my brain gets stereotypey (and a wee bit racist) when woken by noises alluding to foreign instruments. I’m not proud, and also slightly concerned, about this.

***It took an embarrassing amount of time for me to realize my windows are not made of bulletproof material, and would therefore simply break under the stress of a crowbar. Wow, so far these notes don’t say much for my mental state in the wee hours. That’s also the second time I have used ‘wee’. I don’t normally say ‘wee’.

^I suppose in this scenario, I was akin to the cranky old codger yelling “get of my lawn, you crazy gong playing moron!”

^^I like to think anyway. Haha. Get it?

^^^It’s happened more than once. Chris can testify to my randomly roaming the house in the middle of the night in tear-filled dazes, trapped in a cycle of deep thinking. … … I’m very lucky to have found him…. …. and that he hasn’t left me in search of a woman who, you know, doesn’t do that.

*^However, it is the worse time possible to check the light display on your new alarm clock, only to discover in retina crushing detail that it shines with the light of a thousand suns.

^*Lest I repeat the great wake-up-hang-on-I-forgot-that-great-idea-I-had-and-it-would-have-changed-the-world night of 2011. Seriously, for all I know I solved world hunger.

**^If you are annoyed that my title conveyed a tone this post did not live up to, please take ‘The years beat by to the rhythm of the wind gong’ as the official title of this post.

^** Not a habit I recommend getting into. Unless you have had the type of life which resembles Bill Gate’s income graphic, and thus comparatively, your past is always less amazing than your present. My personal life chart looks more like a child scribbled mountains on a dot-to-dot picture. If your life is like my info-graphic, I recommend gratitude and ice-cream.

^*^* Victory

*^^* And the ‘not sleeping’ is why this post is mostly a rambling heap of nothing, with confused and conflicting tones and sentiments. Sorry.



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