Register Wednesday | June 26 | 2019

The Sleep of the Dead

"The unwritten rule of driving these streets is that there are no rules. "

Driving back in the city tonight from Cross Keys I saw something I’ve never seen before in 8 years of living in this city. A cop, the lights on his car flashing as he wrote a ticket for a motorist he’d pulled over. You never see this in New York. At least I don’t. The unwritten rule of driving these streets is that there are no rules. Survive and don’t hit anything. In over 8 years of living here I’ve never, till tonight, seen a police car pull anyone over.

I had to take an air bath today. Two skydives, two jumps, my first two AFPs. These are done with an instructor hanging onto you throughout the freefall, sticking fingers in your face so you will make the slightest adjustments to your form. Once you hit the right arch, your hands at the right angle, your feet at the exact angle, they give you a gratifying thumbs up. I didn’t have to do too many adjustments in air, but the rush of that thumbs up is something that is probably only relatable to the first time you make a parent proud, the first time that girl you liked smiles at you in that way. You know that way. That’s what the thumbs up can feel like.

My favorite part is known as the hill. As I stood at the back of the skyvan, my heart was racing. “What the fuck are you doing?” I said to myself. Then Danny, my instructor, put an extended thumb and pinky in my face. “You ready to have some fun?” And that was all it took. I was ready. We hopped off backwards, onto the top of the hill. If you arch hard out the door, the wind hits you square in the chest and as you descend feet first, if your arch is right, you will round down till you are flying face first along the horizon. That fall is the hill. And it doesn’t matter how scared you are, what your fears are, how much you freeze up at the door, how fast your heart is racing, because once you hit the top of the hill, once you start to slide down, looking up as the plane carries on, you become aware only of the fact that you are—no matter how temporarily—flying.

I had wanted to get out of work early on Friday, but wrapping up our anniversary issue took entirely too long. We closed our last page, the editor’s letter, at 11:30PM. I was ruined. It has been a month of hell at work, perhaps more than that when you throw September into the mix. For the last 6 days of the anniversary behemoth, counting the Sunday that I worked, I slept a grand total of 7 ½ hours. Maybe 8. On the one night, Wednesday, where I was home early enough to get at least 6 hours of sleep, right as I was going to bed, I remembered something I had forgotten to do. I flipped on my computer, made some tea, and sat down for two hours. When I finally laid down to sleep, not just that night, but each night, I just couldn’t shut down. My limbs were fidgety. My brain ran torrents over the things I knew were yet to come. I may as well have blown rails rather than try and sleep.

I slept in till 1 on Saturday. You couldn’t have roused me with an earthquake. Then today I was up at 6:45, driving towards sanity.

Anyway, that’s over. The next few weeks at work will be strictly administrative; a relaxed planning of November, leaving between 6 and 7. Maybe I’ll get my personal life back, the one I lost over the past 2 months, 2 and ½ months, if I can manage to find it.

So I took an air bath. Two of them, actually. Washing away all of the grime and crap and mental exhaustion and fatigue. Washing it all away, rejuvenating myself a bit. I’m off to bed, hopefully to sleep without dreams, without interruption, and for a full 8 hours.