Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Yes, it is 3:59 a.m. I am nursing a very sore throat. Started last night on the road to Duluth. Woke up a few times throughout the night with it. Tried to suck a Fisherman's Friend cough drop in my sleep, but drooled on my pillow like I used to when I wore orthodontia head gear.

And, by the way, good morning, Mr. Dayton. Congratulations on your new job. We're all counting on you. Please stick with it, hang in there, give it all you've got.

On Twitter, this post was retweeted: "What women want: chocolate-covered pretzels and Gabriel Byrne." If I had a season's worth of In Treatment I'd go back to bed and watch the whole thing. Instead, I have Thera-flu. I'm typing only as long as it takes me to down this mug of it. The narcotics in it make me a little goofy but I'll take the throat relief.

Someone yesterday sent me a list of "you know you're getting old" items, which often are repetitive and not too funny but all of these seemed right-on. One was "Seems hard to remember the last time you weren't a little tired." Or, "Why doesn't MapQuest simply jump to #5 on the given directions. I mean, we know the way out of our own neighborhoods."

If you sit alone in your house in the middle of the night, what do you see? What do you hear? I note:

*our quite-organized neighbors all have timers on their Christmas lights. The bright, twinkly lights are off now.

*Both guys (husband and son) are snoring. Both guys like to sleep with their bedroom doors swung open.

*We have no pets. If we did, I wouldn't be alone here at the dining table; I'd have company, I'm sure.

*It's good that we have modern, muted keyboards. If I had to do this on a Smith-Corona typewriter, I'd have to type in a closet in the basement.

*Just as the refrigerator fan goes off, the heater fan goes on. Forced-air heat is no friend for a sore throat.

*The neighbor two doors down lost his wife to cancer this spring. It will be his first Christmas without her. I wonder how he is doing and whether he is up nights, too.

*Yep, a Chevy Blazer just drove by with its flashers on. Stopped next door to throw the paper up the sidewalk. 4:21 a.m., 5 degrees here. Tough work.

My list is so much less than Robert Frost's in "Acquainted with the Night":

I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
O luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.


julie said...

I just have to add the night poem that sticks with me: Adrienne Rich's

"Living in Sin"

She had thought the studio would keep itself;
no dust upon the furniture of love.
Half heresy, to wish the taps less vocal,
the panes relieved of grime. A plate of pears,
a piano with a Persian shawl, a cat
stalking the picturesque amusing mouse
had risen at his urging.
Not that at five each separate stair would writhe
under the milkman's tramp; that morning light
so coldly would delineate the scraps
of last night's cheese and three sepulchral bottles;
that on the kitchen shelf among the saucers
a pair of beetle-eyes would fix her own---
envoy from some village in the moldings . . .
Meanwhile, he, with a yawn,
sounded a dozen notes upon the keyboard,
declared it out of tune, shrugged at the mirror,
rubbed at his beard, went out for cigarettes;
while she, jeered by the minor demons,
pulled back the sheets and made the bed and found
a towel to dust the table-top,
and let the coffee-pot boil over on the stove.
By evening she was back in love again,
though not so wholly but throughout the night
she woke sometimes to feel the daylight coming
like a relentless milkman up the stairs.

Night Editor said...

Julie--Thanks for the Rich poem. Beautiful!