Last Waking Thoughts

It used to be that inspiration would strike at the last moment, as I’d drift off to sleep. Some one-liner, some comeback, some couplet, some amusing thought, some rational defense for the indefensible. I’d flick on the light, reach blindly for a pen, intending to scrawl something on my hand. Finding none, I’d chant my idea again and again, into some pithy mantra, hoping that I’d remember it in the morning.

These days, I’d never remember my last waking thought is. I’m too distracted by everything else — my mind exists in a million places. If pressed, though, I’d first think: My day starts early.

I’m up at 4:45 a.m. most mornings, half an hour after the alarm goes off. I have just enough time to get the jump on a roommate who takes his showers at or after the hour.

I get dressed, I brush my teeth. Once a week, I shave.

Allowing myself just enough travel time plus a safety buffer of fifteen minutes, I leave the house, carefully balancing a piping-hot bowl of microwaved oatmeal between my chest and forearm. I keep my keys in one hand, a book in the other.

I may drive for half an hour; I may drive for two-and-a-half hours. After a day’s work — putting together the camera, taking pictures with the camera, taking apart the camera — I make my way back to the office. Paperwork waits for no man.

Though my days are the busiest part of my week, my nights, too, contend for that same title. Tuesdays, I rehearse with the college band; Wednesday, I rehearse with my veterans’ band. Most other nights not spent reading are used for additional practicing, if not performing with the same groups.

I’d like to say that once I get home, I carefully unfurl my futon from its spot in the closet, laying it in just the right spot on my floor. I can’t say this, because my futon hasn’t moved in three weeks. To think that I had planned this way, and it hasn’t worked out: What irony. Would it be irony if it’s the consequence I’d most expect?

Yet if I think of this irony, or Thursday’s book sale, or the new Nikkor lenses before I go to sleep, I don’t know it. Instead, I sleep.

These are tonight’s last thoughts. I’ll read them in the morning.


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