I’ve suspected for the past couple of days that I was on the mend, but one important thing was missing: a good night’s sleep. Though I slept for twelve hours on Saturday, it was the kind of shallow, disordered sleep that fails to refresh an ailing mind and body, and I hardly slept at all the next night, a dead giveaway that I hadn’t quite turned the corner.
Yesterday was different. I was double-booked–a movie in the afternoon, a play in the evening–and by the time I finally got home I was so exhausted that I threw my coat on the floor, curled up in a ball on the couch, and turned on the TV to unwind. I quickly found myself nodding off, so instead of following my usual end-of-day blogging routine, I went straight to bed to read. The book fell out of my hands after a few minutes and landed on my face, and I stayed conscious just long enough to turn out the light. There followed nearly ten hours of deep, restorative sleep, the kind in which you dream so intensely and continuously that you’re aware of it while it’s happening. At one point I actually dreamed that I was hanging out with a bass-playing friend of mine in the carport of a ranch house in Smalltown, U.S.A., telling her about how deeply I’d slept the night before. I remember verbatim one thing I said to her: “It felt as though I had an electric plug sticking in one ear.” That’s exactly how it felt–like I was recharging an empty battery.
I felt stunned when I woke up a half-hour ago, but in a good way. Gradually my wits returned to me. I remembered that I had a Wall Street Journal review to write this morning, plus a bit of blog-tending. I remembered that I’d cancelled my lunch with Maud so that I’d be fresh for tonight’s appearance at Barnes & Noble. Under other circumstances I might have gone screaming into action immediately, but today I know better. My next move will be to sit down at the kitchen table with a bagel and some fruit, clear my head of the lingering fumes of deep sleep, and permit myself to revel in the sensation of starting to feel better. The world can wait.
If you don’t have anything better to do, come see me hold forth this evening. (For details, click on the link.) I may look a little pale around the edges, but I’m pretty much myself again. That’s the one worthwhile thing about having been sick: it feels so good to get well.
UPDATE: Look at page 87 of this week’s New Yorker, in the middle of David Denby’s piece about Pedro Almod