Keep Calm and Cillian On

It’s been a while since I’ve written. That’s because I’ve been busy. I started my own business (and seem to have an absolute inability to turn away work, even when it’s been months since my last day off and there’s not a clean plate or pair of underwear in sight), I bought and am renovating a 100-year-old farm, and like everyone else on the planet, I have been spending a lot of time trying not to give anyone cooties, and most recently, I’ve been sleeping on my couch, because my 21-year-old cat has been ill – not super-seriously, but enough that she doesn’t want to sleep anywhere but on the back of the couch under the heat pump. But she also wails if I am out of sight – and at her age, she gets what she wants. So, I’m on the couch, instead of my love-it-so-much-I-wanna-have-its-babies Logan and Cove pillow-top mattress (yeah, I’m giving them a plug without compensation because I just love it that much). And while my couch is fine for many activities, sleeping on it every night makes me feel like a geriatric hobo.

Add to all that a caffeine sensitivity and the fact that I had a cup of coffee two mornings in a row this week and you’ll understand how it came to be that I was scrolling through my feed at 3 am last night, wide awake and annoyed about it.

Then, as I was scrollin’, who should appear in my feed but the delightful Irish actor, Cillian Murphy, suggesting with his velvety brogue that he could help me sleep with a “sleep story”.

Like I’m going to turn down THAT offer.

So, I downloaded the Calm app, which promised to put me to sleep within 15 minutes. And naturally, I’m assuming being lulled to sleep in this way would ensure my dreams included at least one, er, romantic one involving Mr. Murphy. All right! Let’s do this! [SPOILER ALERT: The following will reveal some of what you might hear in this sleep story. But mostly it will reveal what happens in my brain when I’m sleep-deprived, which is way worse.]

I logged in and was greeted by the offer of a bedtime story read by Matthew McConaughey. Now, I don’t mind the guy. He’s cute enough, kind of funny, his stoner antics are always entertaining to read about. BUT I cannot imagine anything less restful than trying to fall asleep listening to an American southern drawl. (There were also a lot of stories by people I’d never heard of, and many that involved trains.)

Luckily, a quick search brought up the promised Cillian story (and it was, indeed, about a train).

So, I fluffed my duvet, and my hair (’cause you still want to feel pretty, even for imaginary boyfriends), and settled in, ready for the magic to start.

I pressed play, and there it was – “Hello. My name is Cillian, and welcome to my sleep story.” [*From here on, it might be helpful, in the interest of realism, to read the words really, really, really fast.]

Wait – is that a little loud? Better turn the volume down. And nestle in and try to look serenely cute. Okay, let’s do this.

Oh, it’s going to be a virtual train trip across Ireland? Cool! I just recently found out my brother and I are half-Irish! This will be good research for that trip there we’ve been talking about. I wonder if a train would be better than renting a car? Of course, if we rent a car, we might have to drive on the other side of the road. Do they drive on the other side of the road in Ireland? I’m going to have to remember to Google that. Better stick that on my to-do list. Oh, shit, speaking of errands, I forgot to buy more coffee and I used the last of it this morning – wait! Focus! It’s sleep time!!

Mmm, the Irish accent is the sexiest accent, amirite? Yeah, this is good. This is totally gonna work. I’m going to be so well-rested and get sooo much work done tomorrow.

Wait, the phone just slipped behind the pillow. Maybe I should grab my buds. Nope, those hurt my ears when I’m lying down. Okay, just have to find a good place for the phone where I can hear it, but it will be safe until I wake up. Okay, where was I?

Huh. He’s quoting C.S. Lewis. I really should re-read the Narnia books now, so I can decide if they really are the Christian propaganda they have come to be known as, since I know Lewis himself was a mixed bag about the whole thing. It’s weird to be Irish by blood but have no religious affiliations. It’s such a big deal there. I wonder if Cillian is Catholic or Protestant or neither? I’d probably be willing to convert for Cillian. Huh – I wonder if he’s already married? I’m going to have to remember to Google that.

Weird – where did his accent go? Does he still have an accent? It’s starting to sound neutral to me now. I’m probably just getting accustomed to it. That might be an interesting topic for a research project if I ever decide to return to neuroscience. Or maybe it’s a sign I’m meant to move to Ireland and take up sheep farming. For wool, of course, not meat. I really like knitting. I wonder if Cillian knits? I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that Celtic men used to do a lot of knitting when they were between battles.

Wait – what did he just say about an oversized couch? How does he know I’m sleeping on an oversized couch? Obviously, we’re soulmates. I’ve always known it. Anyway, I better rewind that bit and listen to it again. Don’t want to miss anything.

What’s a brambling? I’ve been getting into bird-watching lately, but I’ve never heard of that one. I’m going to have to remember to Google that. I wonder if they live here? They sound cute. I mean, my favourites are the little dark-eyed juncos that roost in my quince bushes, but I’m open to new things.

He’s talking about C.S. Lewis again. I wonder where my Narnia books are? I must still have them here. Haven’t seen them in a while, though. I haven’t had a chance to Dewey-decimal my library again since I moved. Oh, I can’t wait to do that! It’s so satisfying. But I’ve got thousands of books. I’m going to need to block off like a week or something to get that done as soon as I get caught up on work. I’m currently booked for the next five months, so I really should mark vacation time on my calendar first thing in the morning.

Wait – what’s he talking about? I missed something. Better rewind again.

I should look at the map to follow along with what he’s talking about. Always good to learn about geography. Remember that game I made for myself, with the world map on the wall and little stickies with the countries’ names on them so I could test my knowledge? That was a really good idea. I learned so much.

Oh, I just caught the names Joyce, Yeats, and Tolkien. Better pay more attention. I forgot Yeats was Irish. He’s my second favourite poet. I used to scribble “Never Give All the Heart” on school desks when I was a teen. I don’t read enough poetry anymore. But I really loved that one Amanda Gorman recited at the inauguration. God, I’m glad Trump is gone.

Oh, he just mentioned peregrine falcons. So funny – I was just thinking the other day how cool it would be to learn falconry. And peregrines in particular, because they can dive at ridiculously fast speeds, which reminds me of skydiving, which I haven’t been able to do since I busted my knee. I really need to call my surgeon and reschedule that knee surgery.

How is it every word he says sounds sexy? Hahaha – okay, except for the word “Limerick”, because that’s just silly. I should learn some good limericks before I visit there. Are limericks all dirty, though? There must be some wholesome ones – because, you know, I just don’t want to be cliché.

OMG THERE’S A CAVE CALLED “HOLE OF GOLLUM”???? How did I not know this???? I’ve read LOTR 8,946 times!!! I taught myself how to write Elvish when I was 10!!! I mean, you have to, when your mom keeps breaking into your diary. I wonder if I should start keeping a handwritten diary again? I’ve been keeping it in the computer lately, because it’s faster to type, but there’s something so nice about paper. And I have that really nice, expensive, gilt journal I bought at the Kitchen Witch. I should hit that place up again soon – haven’t been in it since it moved across the river.

Wait – why has he stopped talking? It’s over? Why am I still awake?

I really need to stop with the coffee.

On the Importance of Always Remaining Just a Bit Out of Touch With Reality (Part VII)

The Girl had perhaps spent too many long, late-night commutes on the dark, empty highway.

On this night, the only light on the black road was that of the moon, the stars, and the blinking red light at the top of the cellular phone tower that she passed every night on her way to the office for her back shift.

On this night, as the Girl looked up to watch the crimson tower light recede in her rear-view mirror, she saw the Eye of Sauron winking back at her.  She felt the Ring grow heavy on the chain around her neck.  She suddenly felt weary, and wished the lembas bread contained more caffeine.

Why did she have to take the Ring to Mordor?  It was so cursedly hot there (air conditioning was expensive in these dark days of rising oil costs)…dark…so much death and calamity….  Perhaps she didn’t have to go to Mordor after all, the Ring whispered to her (my precioussss….)  Why not, say, Bermuda instead?  A little sun, sand, surf.  All-inclusive bar and buffet.  That might be nice.

Or she could always just return to the Shire.  Open up that stained glass studio she’d been dreaming about.  Sell some nice crafts to tourists.

But it was too late.  She was in too deep.  Mount Doom loomed ahead.  She had no choice but to forge on.

She was nearly there.  In one final burst of will, she heaved her (laptop) bag onto her shoulder, tightened her belt, and began the final climb (up the stairs).

A sudden scuffling sound above told her she was not alone.  Sméagol!  Had he somehow followed her?  The pull of the Ring was strong.  Perhaps it was not too late to slip on the Ring, become invisible, and sneak away…

“Oh, hey.”  The Girl’s co-worker appeared around the corner, brandishing a sheaf of unsent emergency reports.  “Your shift is gonna suck – the fax machine is still broken.”*

Just another dark, lonely night in Middle Earth Bridgewater.

[Click for Part I, Part II, Part III , Part IV , Part V, Part VI]

*Some artistic license has been taken in the paraphrasing of this dialogue.  Only this part, though.