CircadianClueless


"I figure a pot of beans probably won't do any harm."

I've never lived a particularly well-regulated existence. I've never had a difficult time making it on time to any job I held, usually arriving early and staying late. I burned midnight oil for more than the first half of my life and lit the predawn lamp through the other half so far. I do more than get by on fewer than the recommended hours of sleep. I serve no meal at any regular time, breakfasting five or more hours after rising in the morning and rarely sitting down to supper until well after seven at night. I've grown to despise regular hours, which seem more designed for the convenience of farmers and industrialists than for the benefit of hunter-gatherers like me.

The rhythms persist, however.
When ten pm rolls around, I'm already half asleep. I'm finished with deep sleep by 3am and raring to go if not already up by four. Some days, though, the whole scheme falls apart. My head stops working and I wander through the day little better off than a fuzzy-headed zombie. My attention span evaporates into impatience. I go through motions but fail to adequately suspend my disbelief to muster much more than an unconvincing performance. I become an instant amateur again, whatever I might attempt to engage in. Unable to write, having apparently misplaced my ability to read, I float, wondering if I'm experiencing a disturbing new normal or just temporarily off my tracks.

Later, I'll figure I was taking a breath or something, exercising a psychic diastolic detour. I don't completely shut down, but I generally do shut up until these times pass. I must seem distant to The Muse then. I won't answer the phone, doubting my ability to properly engage. I might plot some task or activity, though I rarely initiate anything more than a thought engagement. I'll try to take a nap, if only to escape the deep doldrum sense, but will likely achieve little more than a semi-sentient state, losing my sense of time without fully surrendering consciousness.

The next morning, I usually wake up feeling back on my tracks again, carrying no grudge, hardly remembering the great bumbling mystery from the day before. Of course I pretend like I never experience these episodes, for such an admission hardly fits into the story my carefully crafted persona intends to project. As if my usual authenticity could protect me from the occasional encroaching fog bank, I spotlight the high points and allow any observer to extrapolate between them without me ever sweeping the light down and through the publicly unseen crevasses separating peaks. Not every day yields a peak experience, though I still believe that each day carries something extraordinary. Peak days bring unavoidably obvious insights. Crevasse days bring more difficult to identify and appreciate ones.

I figure that there must be rhythms beyond the repeating twenty-four hour circadian cycle, ones that more closely mirror the phases of some minor Jovian moon, or something. Whatever those cycles and however difficult they might prove to predict, I figure that they might deserve more than an odd footnoted hint in the CluelessSummer story. I might be trying to remind myself that peak performance isn't sustainable, that diastolic days bring their gifts, too; more difficult to identify, let alone appreciate until later, sometimes much later.

Today's a day like that. I woke with nothing left to say, worked out and uninspired, right arm a tad tired from prepping and painting the garage door over the prior weekend. I thought I might step right in and start prepping more of the front of the place, but the weather report dissuaded me from that urge. I'd left fresh stock curing in an overnight oven and a pot of small red beans soaking. I drained off the stock through a dishtowel, poured the soaking water off the beans, then dumped the stock over the beans, threw in a few dried Serranos and two smoked pork chops, then planted that mess into a very slow oven to scent my day. Tomorrow, I suspect I'll awaken considerably less clueless than I felt this morning. Until then, I figure a pot of beans probably won't do any harm.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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