December 25 It’s shortly before 6am on Christmas morning and I’m wide awake. Am I excited about gifts? Well, who isn’t? But no. It’s being in a strange house filled with people and noises. It was sleeping in a strange bed in a room with smells that kept pulling me awake. I’m sitting at the kitchen table on my own because no one else will get up for hours. One of the house cat’s is sitting there meowing at me: I don’t know what you want! And looking out the window from here I can see a couple dozen dark houses, soft puffs of exhaust billowing from their chimneys as they struggle to keep their interiors warm and cozy for the celebrations that are likely due in just a few minutes or hours. In the time it took to write the last sentence, the cat jumped up on the table and is looking at me expectantly. She remembers Sparkle, or at least in my head she does, and somewhere in that little walnut brain is wondering where I’m hiding my dog. Now I think she just wants something to eat because a human shape isn’t in bed on this quiet morning so… feed me. I’d go sit on a couch, but they are covered in filled stockings or sleeping kids. I’d go climb back into bed but it seems like I’d just wake else someone up. I’d make coffee, but it’s dark and mostly quiet and that seems like it would draw a crowd who wouldn’t be quite as poetic about the early wake up call as I seem to be. It’s too early on Christmas morning. I hope you enjoy yours.
Literally, the dog whining. In a more abstract sense, the looming uncertainty of an unknowable future.
The sleepless too-hot nights.
It’s 5 AM. I’ve been up for an hour. You think kids are bad? Try a neurotic dog. A dog who goes bonkers insane when the low battery alarm in the carbon dioxide detector in the basement goes off …the sporadically beeping alarm that you can’t hear unless you just happen to hear the faint blip in the right place at the right time …the alarm that the dog can apparently hear all the way upstairs, all night long, where she sits panting and clawing at her kennel and having an nervous breakdown when she should be sleeping instead of keeping you awake half the night. (My sympathy is in short supply before four AM.) Try that. Instead of sleeping, we’re having some quiet, chill-out time in the basement. Sigh.