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By the time you read this scheduled post, I will be on the airplane to Israel, hopefully amusing myself with books, writing, and music. So I thought I might as well amuse you at the same time with something I found when I was searching for unfinished stories to work on. (And who knows? Perhaps you will amuse me too by leaving comments, which I will read once I get to Israel, jetlagged and exhausted.)

This is from November 2008, and it gives a general idea of what my evenings and nights are like during the school year.


The view as I look out the window is a bleak one; all I can see is blackness and nothing else. It is as though the world has been put on pause, and all the living creatures are frozen somewhere in their homes, away from my eyes.

My turtles, however, continue to splash in their aquariums, their shells often hitting the glass with a thud as they swim about. As the female comes up to the surface of the water for a breath of air, she gives out a slow whistle. My eyesight being somewhat fuzzy without my glasses, I cannot see her very well, but I clearly hear every sound she emits. The male turtle, for his part, leans against the raised stone platform in his aquarium, his limbs tucked into his shell comfortable. As much as I stare at him, I do not see him move more than a centimeter. Such is the usual order of things; the female does not sit still for a moment, while the male is always calm and relaxed.

Don’t they ever get tired? I wonder, my own eyes drifting shut and then hastily opening up again. Especially Chapa. If I moved as much as she does instead of sitting all day in the same spot, I would be even more tired than I am now, and that’s saying something. From where does she get all that energy without drinking coffee?

Coffee is, as some would say, my drug of choice. It is the remedy for a late night combined with an early morning, its hotness soothes a sore throat, and I somehow find a reason for it at every moment of my life. Now, as I am sitting and looking at my watch, which reads that it is past one in the morning, I think about my morning coffee. I calculate how early I will have to wake up to have time to have a coffee at home before running out the door to go somewhere. Fortunately, it is the weekend and I do not have to worry about getting to school on time, so I am able to sleep in a few hours later than I normally am able to do.

I have a few scenarios in my mind of what would happen if I ever missed my morning cup of coffee; most of those mental images are based on things that happened in the past, when I was both sleep deprived and caffeine deprived. Needless to say, I would not wish to repeat any of those experiences, so I diligently prepare and drink the same black coffee every morning.

My eyes turn back to my turtles, both of whom now seem to be resting.

It’s about time, I think to myself. I mean, you can’t just play, play, play all day. There’s got to be some time in there set aside for resting and grabbing a few hours of sleep.

I squint, trying to make out Tyapa’s facial expression. I am pretty sure that his eyes are still open, so he can’t be sleeping. His perfectly still body could have fooled me, though.

Another sound reaches my ears; deep snoring is emanating from the door leading to another room. I smile slightly, imagining my adorably chubby pug curled up on his blanket, sleeping and snoring. The snoring part, however, I don’t have to imagine, for I am able to hear it perfectly well from where I’m sitting. Pugs have this tiny little button of a nose, which causes their breathing and snoring to be often louder than that of other dogs – not that I mind. On the contrary, I find it absolutely cute that my dog snores like that. It does not compare to the other comical sounds he makes, though, like yapping at something to which he objects or whining in frustration when he cannot get the door to open so he can run free through the house, wrecking everything in his path. That little cutie pie can be dangerous when let loose, and that I know from experience.

I yawn, my eyes closing up and desiring to remain closed. Not heeding their pleas, I wrench them open again and continue to write in my journal, racing against the clock and hoping to go to sleep before two.

Fondly, I remember those few days when I went to sleep once the sun rose. I still do that sometimes, although not as often as in the summer. School does not allow for such luxuries; time becomes precious and every minute matters. Did you know that if you put your brain to the task, you can memorize a simple mathematical formula in only a minute? And yet, it can take as long as five minutes to apply it to a problem on an exam and a further five minutes to actually solve the problem? Then there is always that moment of panic when you realize that you have less than two minutes to complete your exam, but you have more than five examples left to solve. Those two minutes are of the utmost importance, for they can very often be the deciding factor between a passing and a failing grade.

When you need the time most, that is when you feel it is most unavailable to you, but when you do not need it to accomplish anything, it stretches on until you wish you could kill it. Many, indeed, attempt to do so. I often hear people saying that they “killed time” by doing certain things such as watching television or movies, going shopping, or eating three different snacks on a full stomach. What a slow, agonizing death for Time. Why, I almost feel sorry for it.

At the same time, I cannot help but worry for myself. As my friends are not here to help me kill time, the natural result is that I sink into thought. That, my friends, is often an even more dangerous hobby than killing time, for it conjures negative memories, fears of the future, and other such terrible things that end up keeping you up at night, worried about life.

I wonder, What are other girls my age doing? Are they killing time, blissfully unaware of all these thoughts floating around?

I, too, have the opportunity to make myself blissfully unaware of what is going on in life. Sleep smudges reality, blurs the line between the possible and the impossible, and erases some of the pain that is otherwise part of your existence.

Sleep, then, is what I want to do now.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 3, 2009 at Monday, August 03, 2009 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Yeah, I've also always been opposed to that "killin time" line, it shows how little they value the promise that time holds. QAnd thinking is very good idea, but if you consider just wondering if your turtles ever sleep "thinking", maybe youre better off "killing" your time. Honestly though, I don't think anything bad can come from a good analyzing of the recent and future events of ones life. Not to plan too muc, or beat ones self up to much, but to reflect on things. I'm sure you understand..

August 4, 2009 at 1:16 AM

Have a great trip by the way. Don't miss t'filat haderekh!

August 4, 2009 at 1:17 AM

"but if you consider just wondering if your turtles ever sleep "thinking"" -- Come on, give me some credit.

What, you think I would post what I was actually thinking, for everyone to see?

"Have a great trip by the way." -- Thanks!

August 4, 2009 at 5:29 AM

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