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MARTHA SEZ: ‘Wakefulness at that hour serves no useful purpose’

August 23, 2019
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

The worst thing about waking up in the middle of the night, my friend Linda pointed out, is that you are usually fretting about something you can't fix. Wakefulness at that hour serves no useful purpose. Half asleep, awash in the remnants of dreams-why did my car turn into a bicycle? What was that telephone number?-What are you going to do about it?

I have to agree. The other night I actually caught myself worrying about the wind. Would it strip all of the tomatoes from my tomato vine before they were ripe?

I love to garden, and I have had some success with certain plants, mostly flowering plants, but tomatoes are another matter. I would blame the famously short Adirondack growing season, but a woman I know in Elizabethtown grows bushels of beautiful red tomatoes every summer. Her garden looks like something you would expect to see in Italy.

This June I cut open a supermarket tomato and was surprised to see a mass of sprouting seeds, complete with tiny green leaves.

While this seemed unnatural-what are those scientists up to now?-I liked it. These little sprouts, I figured, were possessed of a powerful life force. They would be hardy, and likely to produce a good harvest.

I planted one in a big earthenware post. So far it has not developed any of the blights that usually afflict my tomato plants, and its branches are heavy with fruit, just beginning to ripen.

So there I lay, trying to exert mind control over the thunderstorm I heard raging over the rooftops.

Luckily, this time it worked, but it was pretty much hit or miss.

There are songs about tossing and turning all night. Whether the source of your insomnia is thwarted love, remorse, fear of discovery, health concerns or the bills that cover your desk or dining room table like February snowdrifts in Saranac Lake, thinking about it now is not going to help. You tell yourself this, but still you lie there, ruminating.

Insomnia can be torture. You could read, but you may feel constrained to turn on the light. If you sleep in the same room with someone else, spouse, sibling or whomever, you know that this person will not like being awakened just because you can't sleep.

On the other hand, it can be very irritating to listen to a loved one's tranquil snores as you lie awake in a snit. This is especially true when, as is often the case, the person who lies sleeping next to you is the cause of your agitation, due to something said or done during the day, or perhaps several years ago. Little does this person know that he or she is creating deep resentment inside you simply by being unconscious.

The solitary insomniac may not turn on the light either if she has made the mistake of watching scary television shows about murderers before bedtime. Illuminating the bedroom is a sure way of alerting serial killers, ghosts, zombies, tyrannosaurs or what have you to your location, like the old blue light special at K-Mart. You might just as well announce it: Here I am, night stalkers, come and get me!

My father used to say, "Nothing of any value gets said after midnight." I think this is also true of the ruminations people entertain in the middle of the night.

My friend Beatrix said that her therapist gave her a rubber band to wear around her wrist so that she could snap it and bring herself back to reality every time she caught herself ruminating about situations-or certain individuals-over which or whom she had no control.

When I mentioned this to my friend Pete, he suggested that a bungee cord around the neck would be more to the purpose. He thought that would step up the behavior modification process. Still, snapping yourself with rubber bands or bungee cords probably won't help you get back to sleep.

Just when you think that sleep will never come, that you be lying there full of terrible anxiety until daybreak, you fall without warning into a profound slumber which renders you deaf to the racket of your alarm clock. Later, as you drink coffee and attempt to look sharp, your coworkers will ask you what on earth you were doing the night before to make you such a wreck. What will you tell them? That you were worrying about your tomato plant?

Have a good week.

 
 
 

 

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