“The man just opened his mouth, which meant that all kinds of secret doors in his body gave way. He did not sing so much as let his soul free.
- Ray Bradbury, "Green Shadows, White Whale"
Pausing is dangerous. Free time is my enemy. Boredom is not an option. Downtime cannot be considered.
Last night I was restless. Those are the worst nights, huh? When you are quite ready to embrace a good nights sleep and the wide-open-eyed event begins. I’ve heard some describe it as a blessing. One individual that I knew who suffered from insomnia decided to become an amateur astronomer and became quite well-versed in the heavens above. Perhaps that’s my next topic of exploration. When I was young, I could point out two dozen constellations. Now, I know where about half a dozen are.
When the agitation started, I immediately grabbed the one device I hate with a passion. The blue glow from the iPhone gave me absolutely no comfort. I took a whirl through the news. That obviously made my heart heavy. Faced with a decision to wake and do something productive - organize, work on art, read a book - or perhaps spend time praying for the state of the world that had just bombarded my soul in an instant, I chose to play a video game!
I hate video games. I have found that this form of mind-numbing is probably more dangerous that dabbling in psychedelics. At least after the terror of psychedelics you are convicted to make real change in your life. At the end of an hour long gaming session, you feel like you want to shower and stick your finger down your throat to purge the intake.
It is odd that I would choose this method of time killing. The last three years of my marriage, my former would lull herself to sleep each and every night with a game called “Word Warp”. It was a word finding game that supposedly enhanced your brain and vocabulary…emphasizing “supposedly”. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine how blind I was to a deteriorating relationship that was red-flagged daily with no communication, no affection, and something as innocent as a video game.
I would often ask, “Please put your phone down”. She had three standard replies. The first was intended to be funny: “I’ve got the high score! We are going to Hollywood!” The second was less friendly: “I’ve seen you on your phone…this helps me fall asleep!” The third was not friendly at all: “You want to control everything in my life!” Now I am fairly certain that, after giving up on conversation, affection, and - frankly - sex, and leaving the room to escape the blue glow to sleep in another room (yes, a bad move I know) she was likely hopping over to Facebook to nurture the relationship she was on her way to having.
I often jabbed at her choice of faith and would sometimes say, “I wish I believed in reincarnation like you do so that I could focus all of my attention on becoming a smartphone in my next life just so that I can have human touch.”
It is just a horrible thing to participate in a killing like this. There is nothing right about sitting back and coasting through a deteriorating marriage without taking action.
Uggh…another illustration: Years ago, I was in the Grandfather Mountain Bagpipe Band. I would often take the very long trip to rehearsal with another piper. He was a real fun and really odd guy who had a pretty hilarious nickname that I can’t mention for his protection. When we would come off of the mountain late at night, he would sometimes put his car in neutral, turn off the headlights, and play music as loud as he could with the windows down. This horrified me and I would always protest and demand that he either drive like a normal person or pull over and let me hitchhike home. There was a real fear of dying in a very horrific way in this situation. My marriage was kind of like that, but I was the driver. I didn’t really have much protest coming from any passengers, so I continued to coast down the mountain until it finally did end in tragedy. A mother, a father, a daughter, a son - all ejected and heaped up in their own little death.
If you are in a failing relationship, put your phone down. Turn your headlights on. Stop playing games. Put the car in drive. But, leave the music up and the windows down and sing…sing your life!