Alright children, I mean Intertubes, settle down while ol’ Cranky Claus tells you his Christmas story. You know it’s going to be a good one if he’s writing it at 1:32 a.m.
Twas the night before solstice, and I couldn’t sleep…’cause the baby had been crying in her sleep every hour it seemed. She wakes up and cries because she can’t find her pacifier. Of course, she eventually finds it and goes back to sleep, but then, you know, you’re awake because you couldn’t decide whether or not to go help her find it, or just let her deal with it. Because you’re still new at this parenting thing and you don’t want her to be a weird kid growing up, so you’re trying to make her life as normal as possible, but you don’t really know how to do that because, maybe, you weren’t so normal growing up either. But you had a decent life and your parents did a great job, so you try and remember what they did, except you can’t because you were only 19 months old at the time yourself, so how the hell can you remember…and all of this shit is running through your head in the darkness and that’s why you can’t sleep.
Not a creature was stirring, except for the cats…all night long I have to play referee for two cats. Red is not involved. She’s the meek one who finds a nice quiet spot at night. She goes to bed and apparently stays there all night. But, the other two…Oliver and Peach, love to antagonize each other, usually on my side of the bed. Oliver loves to find a warm spot. This is usually the back of my knees or tucked up between my armpit and my ribs, or between my wife’s and my pillow. This would be great except that Peach can’t stand not being right next to Oliver. Like, LITERALLY, on top of him. This can only lead to one thing. It starts with an incessantly loud bath that Peach insists that Oliver give her. So, there’s this cat-licking noise. Well, then Oliver gets tired of this and he bites Peach which causes her to wince, which at Peach’s size feels like a small earthquake in the bed. Then there’s a tussle and Oliver usually catapults himself NASA-style through the air to get away from her. Peach usually trundles after him hitting every body part of mine on the way out of the bed. If that’s not the scenario, then usually I wake up sweating from Oliver and Peach’s heavy bodies crushing me to the mattress and I strain to move beneath the sheets and dislodge them which causes even more entanglement and feline-induced wrestling. None of which my wife notices because they NEVER sleep on her at all.
And C. in her pjs and I in my shorts, had just settled down to sleep until morn…which is really the goal, except that if you wake up in our house, you’ll have to contend with either the train horn or the plane engines or the police helicopter. We’re in the Bermuda-frickin’-triangle of transportation decibels. It is my belief that Norfolk Southern and CSX move 90% of their cargo, which must consist of plate glass and bone china the way they blow that damn horn to “clear the intersection,” between the wee hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. And, in the winter, with no leaves on the trees and crystal clear skies, that train horn might as well be in the bedroom with you. We even had the windows replaced which should’ve deadened the sound, but all that did was rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. The noise is practically deafening in the still of the night. And, UPS is no better. They line those massive cargo planes up in the sky and you can practically set your watch every 30 seconds by the roof-rattling hum produced by their engines. As the last of one dies away, you can hear the next one’s throaty growl making its approach. The police helicopter is a little less regular, but apparently criminals like to use our neighborhood as a sort of hide-and-seek maze within which they gambol about. And no self respecting hoodlum in my neighborhood does his dirty work at 2 p.m., no, you gotta wait until everybody’s gone to bed to get the best stuff. 3 a.m. is the best time.
When out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter, the college kids were barfing, and cussing and fighting…because they’re out of school now, so they can really party it up. And, they don’t know how to be quiet, or stay inside the home that they’re renting from the crazy crackpot neighbors who would just as soon run you over with their vehicle as be nice to you. So, you’re awake every 20 minutes when the next carload of intoxicated sorority girls rolls up to the door and you’re trying to decide if they’re going to ultimately quiet down or if you actually need to call the cops which will be a complete waste of your time because all they’ll do is swing by to tell everybody to settle down and then the minute they’re gone the noise starts up again. They have zero respect for the fact that everyone else in the neighborhood is sleeping and so they’re communiques, which normally consist of a varied usage of the terms “Fuck you,” are loud, obnoxious, and probably alcohol-induced. And, as I say, talking to the neighbors would be a complete waste of time because they were probably just like them in college and, as a result, have little or no brain cells left to carry on an intelligent conversation.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread…aside from the fact that I have to get up in four hours and it will probably be more of the same when I get back to bed. I have tried really hard this year to have some Christmas cheer but the world is making it pretty damn difficult. I know that in the grand scheme of things that all of this is fairly trivial, but I NEED SLEEP! So, if everyone, my child, the transportation industry, and those snotty little fucknuts across the street, could simply keep it down for a few hours every night, I’d be really appreciative.
Many apologies to Clement Clarke Moore for appropriating bits of his beautiful poem Twas The Night Before Christmas for heinous purposes, but ’tis the season and since he’s dead he’s getting the sleep that I’m not, so he shouldn’t complain.
See you in the funny papers!