Sometimes there is no real explanation, I just can’t sleep. But I know there’s probably some kind of explanation. Something I ate. Something I didn’t eat. Too much to drink. Too little to drink. There’s so much about my own physiology that I think I should have figured out by now, but instead just gets more and more mysterious to me as I get older. And then there’s the questions that pop into my head, and there’s the jitter I get in my feet, and then sometimes something just aches or pinches or burns. Sometimes I lie there thinking about a ping or a pain and I start to wonder about my own mortality, and that just isn’t good going-to-sleep thinking.
Tonight it isn’t really anything that mysterious. It’s 12:44 AM and today — yesterday, actually — was the first day of school. Except I didn’t actually teach a class. I did go to school and I did do some work, but the daily ritual of teaching at 8:00 AM isn’t there this semester. Instead — and this is a good thing — I’m working on new things, developing workshops, hiring a secretary, managing a budget, hosting events. It’s all part of a picture I wanted to paint, but it’s all still mysterious. The “new gig,” as I’ve been describing it, as though I’m on tour in Europe with the band, is great. And it scares the shit out of me, not because I’m afraid of screwing something up, but because I’m afraid of not doing anything at all. It would be an easy rut to ditch myself for the next three years.
So there’s that, and then there’s also the next day — today, actually — when I actually welcome my first class. I think that either, 1. It’s the first day trepidation and excitement, or B. I don’t know what to do with myself after watching the “first day” pass without a single step into a classroom. Either way, I suppose it all resolves itself in a few hours, whether I sleep or not. It’s stupid, really. There are plenty of other reasons to be sleepless, but I’m still this way after countless hours of teaching, multiple times having taught these courses before, and a new pair of back-to-school pants. (I still have the nightmare of arriving to class without pants, although usually it entails me either teaching acting or coaching football.) Undoubtedly I’m thinking of the other things I’m thinking about besides teaching, trying to remember not to forget to remember to think about something. Part of me thinks that being in a classroom will be an antidote to this spiral, but the part of me that is still awake thinks otherwise.