Sleep has many sides. It is wanted, elusive, dangerous, embarrassing, hated, powerful, inconvenient and resented. Sleep does not give me rest. Even in the comatose hours, my immune system continues to shoot at anything that moves. I get moments of constant yawning when people advise me to go and have a lie-down. It’s no good. Even the most welcome of power naps can ruin the day. Sometimes I will fall asleep in company. People will wake me up; the fools. Last week, I set the alarm for 7.30 AM. It was a day of travel; a well-worn path.
8.55 bus to Tunbridge Wells.
10.07 train to Charing Cross.
A roll through theatreland and UCL.
12.07 train to Lime Street.
Bus under the Mersey.
Liver, prepare thyself for an alcohol epidemic. And what a three days it was. Dinners, teas, served and cooked. There were frequent and rare friends, reminiscences and future hopes, tests and travails. There was sleep in the gaps. It was managed in a bed. Cool. So often I wake up in a chair at a time when the workers of the nation are rubbing their eyes and cursing the alarum bell. (Shakespearean word.)
What do I do? Go to bed and wake up in the afternoon. It’s living up to the title of benefits scrounger. I want everything done for me, I want it all for nothing and I sit around waiting for it to happen.
What’s left of my teeth are like moss infused gravestones, I smoke rollies all day and I complain about immigrants taking all the jobs. There’s a magical thing in the bathroom producing internal rain. I have no idea what it is. I was indignant with EDF for not giving me my winter fuel payments so it just means I stay in bed longer.
The job centre keeps ringing my i-phone and telling me to come in for assessments. But it’s not my fault if it’s raining and I can’t go. They need to buy me a new vacuum cleaner anyway. And the fridge is on the blink. My cheap cider is far too warm.
It’s a disgrace. What’s the world coming to? How’s a man going to keep his dignity if he has to pay for things himself? I got another new tattoo last week. My arms are now fully concealed by snakes, flowers and characters from Game of Thrones. I went to see the doctor about my sleep the other day and all she gave me was a leaflet on healthy living. That’s disgusting. Everything’s disgusting.
It’s not like the old days when all I had to do was sign on. It’s a worry-it’s keeping me awake at night. No wonder I fall asleep in the chair.
As you can tell, my sleep pattern is spasmodic. Staying awake into the night is dangerous; far too much whisky and far too many munchies. But it didn’t stop our roistery. Wetherspoons was mildly busy. Friends were genuine and good-humoured. It was a thoroughly nice time. Now the best thing about the Premier Inn is the attachment of the pub where I met more friends for a nightcap. But the sleep? I struggled through the early hours and then slept until 12. Here is a storyboard of my time up north: