Saturday, June 16, 2007

The last three days

Whoa, how time flies during a lifestyle change.

Sorry, Blue, one personal note.

In the past ten years, I have undergone one major lifestyle change as regarded my sleeping hours. From the time I tok my doctorate in English (May, 1996) to the time I bedded down for two weeks with the flu (January, 1998), my night life was spent in the following fashion:

Mondays: stay up reading until past midnight, sleep, struggle awake the next morning.

Tuesdays: watch my prime time shows, go to Blanco's Bar & Grill at 10:30, play pool and drink beer until they kicked us out at midnight, go with my friends to the Ale House or Cecil's until last call, go to bed at 2:30, wake up early the next morning for my 8 am classes, all in preparation for a thunderous nap Wednesday afternoon, leading to . . .

Wednesday: rent a movie, go to sleep early.

Thursday: watch my prime time shows (Seinfeld, et al), drive downtown at 10:30 to Warren's Inn (the original Houston businessman's dive), hang out with two colleagues, go home past midnight, in preparation for my 8 am Friday class.

Friday: Try to work until 10. Then go out.

Saturday: Try to work until 10. Then go out.

Sunday: go to bed early, be unable to sleep, watch cable on the sofa until 2 am, in preparation for, yes, my Monday 8 am classes.

This lifestyle ended nine years ago this past January, when I tumbled into bed at 2:30 at the tale end of one Tuesday night . . . and woke up four hours later, completely and utterly unable to move, to get up, to go to my 8 am class. Well, I did, anyway, and then spent the next five days fighting off what was coming, then a week indulging in it, in bed, unable to move. Ah: I was 33, and the party was over.

So? Lifestyle change.

Early to bed, early to rise, blah blah blah.

Only thing: I was never early to bed, nor, really, early to rise. In Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney wrote of the (I think) barely noticeable pivot of the club evening during which 9 pm becomes becomes 2 am (he wrote it well--it was the best line he's ever written). For me, it was more along the lines of when 10:30 (the end of the news) becomes 1:30: three hours, one-eighth of my day, frittered away. Oh, sure, I could tell myself I was, um, pursuing new endeavors, or polishing this or that assignment, or what-all, but the truth was I was feeding my old habit. At those hours, I would sit down, inspired--then fatigue would be it--enough to stop serious work, not enough to warrant sleep--and I'd be off to the bookshelf for my collection of Muyrray Kempton essay, or the best of Red Smith; or of to the videocassette library (or DVD collection). Or maybe there was a great Sidney Lumet on the cable version of The Late Show: Network, maybe, or The Verdict, or Prince of the City, or (dare I hope?) Serpico.

Result: oversleep or wake up groggy, get to work late or on time and cranky, slog through a day waiting for nap time.

Then nap.

Then jog.

The Devil sent me the internet, to read book reviews published in Detroit, or first-hand accounts of the Titanic sinking, or Roger Ebert through the years. All quite fascinating.

Well, with marriage behind me, this past week, I thought I'd turn things around.

Bed by eleven.

Up at seven.

At my desk by nine, my pencils sharpened.

So far, so good.

But I'm having to patch, patch, patch.

So: the last three days. The Yankees. Two wins, one loss.

I've been watching Oliver Perez for years, back when he was with the Pirates. I thought: Who in the world could hit that slop? The bony kid, with a fastball that wouldn't blacken your eye--nevertheless, when on, could make up for lack of velocity with location and movement.

His performance against the Yankees doesn't surprise me in the least.

But okay. Three-point-five games behind Detroit.

The hitting is hitting.

The starting pitching is suddenly a strength.

And, yeah, it's bedtime.

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