I’m not paranoid. I just know they’re out to get me…
6 30 pm. After a busy day, I’m looking forward to relaxing in our lounge room to see the Aussie cricketers beat the South Africans. But my belt is vibrating, so I reach for my phone.
Harvey has sent me a text message: “Please call me.”
I could call Harvey many things; like a conservationist. Not in any environmental sense, but in conserving his own time, energy, money or fuel; especially if other people have these items on hand.
And now he’s in my ear: “Could you drive me to the airport tomorrow? I have to fly to Perth.”
So now Harvey’s in another war on waste – like the time that clear planning consumes. But he doesn’t know many people, and while I have definite things to do, they have no deadlines.
“That should be okay, Harvey.” Then a vital question escapes my lips – later than it should have: “What time does your plane leave?
Harvey can’t hear my random-act-of-generosity’s afterglow-balloon rapidly deflating.
Tomorrow now includes leaving home at two am; picking up Harvey; a three-hour drive to ensure he fully participates in the obligatory pre-flight procrastination; and enjoying the last part of the trip - straight into the rising sun!
“Okay Harvey, I’ll see you at two-thirty.”
I’m not too tired, so I enjoy the start of the televised action, despite comic Robin Williams’ defining cricket as baseball on vallium. But then, maybe an early night could bank some sleep, so I slip off to bed.
9:30 pm. I’m discovering that sleep is like electricity. It can’t be stored - only re-stored.
Thoughts of electricity suddenly remind me of this morning’s power blackout, and having to reset all our timers and clocks. It dare not happen again so; ignoring our bedside radio; I arm my phone alarm, leaving it beside my pillow.
10:30 pm. I’m still studying the insides of my eyelids. Is this a case of mind over mattress?
11:00 pm. My wife comes to bed, with the happy news that the Aussies have won.
11:30 pm. I’m questioning my decision to be generous, but I recall Mr Bennett’s sagacious comment from Pride and Prejudice: “Why are we here but to make sport for our neighbors and to laugh at them in our turn?”
Finally, I think I’m asleep – when my phone suddenly starts shredding any reverie. Surely it’s not time to go already?
Groping for the alarm button, and squinting through whatever has glued my eyes shut, I discover that it’s not the alarm. It’s only 1 am!
Our youngest daughter has sent me a text message – from Perth of all places: “Am I watching this game live or is the telecast delayed?”
Is she caught up in all its excitement? Is she still depending on her dear aging father’s wisdom? Has she forgotten how big our country is; as it’s still only 10pm over there?
Her sweetness and innocence can charm the sun from behind the darkest cloud, but she is not at this moment without fault.
So should my reply include news of the result; or a request to stop by at the airport to pick up Harvey? I’m hoping he has already arranged for someone, but who knows? Besides, she has never met him.
But no; my bleary-eyed fumbling on the keypad produces a third, gentler option: “It’s a delayed coverage, sweetie. Please don’t ever change. Love from Dad. XOX.”
Her sudden contact has now stirred so many memories of her beauty and her love of life that sleep deprivation takes on a happier aura; even though we have not seen her for over a year.
I toy with possibly joining Harvey on the plane for the four-hour cross-country flight to see her again, but that’s out of the question.
Finally, I kill the alarm just before its set time; slip out of bed; get ready and slide into my car.
And then, as I start the motor and pull out onto the street, who else but Luciano Pavarotti should erupt from my car radio to summarise how my day has thrust itself at me?
Singing his signature tune “Nessun Dorma ” – None Shall Sleep!
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