Rest and Recuperation

23 November, 2005 Temperature: 27 degrees

Sleep deprivation affects me in strange ways. Like anyone else, it makes me irritable and depressed. But sometimes, when I realize that the bad movie is not going to end for awhile, I go to a sort of “battle stations” condition in my mind.

Captain Cognizance climbs into his comfy chair on the bridge of the USS Gary. Here he calmly issues orders to various extremities, and assumes a sort of detached command of the organism intended to get us to a safe harbor, where we can stand-down in a controlled loss of consciousness. Pain is noted, then ignored, and each separate task is isolated and dealt with in order of priority, one at a time. It is a discipline I think I developed in Marine Corps bootcamp, and some of my fellow jarheads probably know what I mean. I have read where Ironbutt Rally riders experience a similar phenomenon during a thousand-mile day.

Last night, on the ride home from school, I was definitely in this “limp-home” mode. I had only slept a couple of hours on Monday night, tossing and turning with too many things going through my mind at once. It was like one of those special sessions of congress, where everyone wants to debate a different issue and nothing gets resolved. It’s impossible to sleep with all these voices in my head. (Nudge-nudge… “Ya see? He really IS crazy!”)

But now I’m mixing metaphors, and that’s never good.

The point is, I rode home late at night, on bad roads through worse neighborhoods, on a cute little motor-scooter, in this depleted condition. I wasn’t nearly as alert as I should have been, and I was lucky nothing quick and bad happened. It was one wheel in front of the other, stopsign to stoplight, all the way home.

The high point of my evening was explaining the absence of my homework to my instructor, who got a good chuckle out of the story and gave me twenty-percent credit for my missing papers. This is fine, since all I have to do is pass the course anyway.

This morning I awoke a couple of hours too early. I had forgotten to reset my alarm to catch up on my sleep, and I knew those hours were now lost. Once my eyes were focused, I found I was looking at my Darth Vader-esque helmet, which I had set upon my dresser. I could hear it breathing. Then it spoke:

“Your powers are weak, old man.”

“Oh, shut up, you sinister brain bucket.”, I croaked.

The Baron and I rode the usual empty streets in the early morning darkness. I worked for about six hours, and fell asleep at my computer. When my eyes opened, my finger was resting on the Return key, which was doing funny things with our database program. I left early, went straight home, and took a nap.

So here we are at the start of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Winter in Minnesota is letting me down. I had hoped to be struggling with snow and ice right about now. My Kenda knobbies came by Fed Ex today, and I hope to get them installed before Monday. (Thanks Laura!) Then the Baron and I will be ready for anything… I hope. For now, I’m going to settle into my sofa, with a cold beverage in one hand and the TV remote welded to the other. It’s time for a little R&R.

5 Responses to “Rest and Recuperation”

  1. Laurence Says:

    Entertaining blog! Keep posting and the very best of luck from Vancouver, Canada

  2. Dick Aal Says:

    Hope you had a good thanksgiving dinner. We did here with family. Best of luck and see how you go Monday. This Thanksgiving was quite different than one I spent in Minneapolis about 10 years ago. I was there for a week and you had an entire years worth of snow that week.

  3. mnscooter Says:

    Yeah, Minnesota is funny that way. Snow is falling right now as I type this. The snowplow drivers must have the day off, as they haven’t come by yet. I am going to try and get my knobbies mounted tomorrow. If the roads are still crappy, I will attempt to do this myself. I have changed the tires on my KLR before, so I have the tools. I’m just not sure about the stiffer sidewalls on these small, tubeless tires. Once mounted, I will play around with pressures until I can find the best compromise between grip and rolling resistance.

    Ride well,

  4. Buster Brown Says:

    “But now I’m mixing metaphors, and that’s never good.”

    Au contraire, mon frere. A well-mixed metaphor can be the icing on the crown jewels, so to speak. A famous mayor of Minneapolis, in the middle of a tough election campaign, said: “you can’t have your cake and have your pie, and still eat them both.” But that’s blood under the bridge.

  5. Shagg Says:

    Baron- Though I was never in the military, your “Captain Cognizance” story rings true for me. I think it’s a form of self-hypnosis. Without going into all the details, I once drove my 18-wheeler out of Manhattan over to Ft. Lee, NJ while sleep-driving, which is to say, I don’t remember anything about the trip except that I was EXHAUSTED when I started driving and felt the urgent need to get out of the city before night fell. (Those of you familiar with the NYC area will say big deal, just pay the toll and cross the bridge. I had lost my wallet and drove up one of the avenues (possibly Broadway), starting around 15th street all the way up to 178th street where I could cross the GW Bridge for free. There may not be a light at each intersection, but it sure seemed that way, and I had to stop for each one- 18-wheelers don’t accelerate quickly.) I only have vague flashes of memory of that trip (VERY scary, when you think about it), but my sub-conscious took over and got me out when my conscious wasn’t willing. As far as the pain thing goes, I am now a mail carrier and I find my body doesn’t feel any pain until after I’m done with work and home. waves of discomfort and exhaustion flow over me at that point, but while I’m at work, I “don’t allow it” because I have work to do.

    Anyway, my Harley is under a nice warm blanket in the back of the garage waiting for warmer days. I admire what you’re doing and wish you the best and will keep reading with interest.

    Don’t you know that Minnesotans are supposed to be riding snowmobiles from August thru June?!?

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