Fanfare for the Common Man

  • Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I'm a night owl. I'm also an early riser.
That combination doesn't bode well for a full night's sleep.
I even take something to help take the decision of going to bed out of my hands so I get some decent sleep and am marginally functional the next day. Even then I don't crawl into the sack until I absolutely have to, and often, I still fight the pull of Sleepy Time.
Lately, pushing that envelope has begun to cost me.
For example, a couple weeks ago I set myself on fire. Again.
It's not what you'd call an actual self-combusting, but more a barbecue.
When it's cold I don't like running the furnace to heat the entire 1500-square-foot house when I'm only occupying 100 or so square feet of it. So I turned on the electric space heater instead, following all instructed safety procedures in the heater's set up and operation manual.
When I climbed into bed I was a safe distance from the heater and had cleared the area around it of refuse, paper and clothing obstructions. I did, though, have it turned in my direction because I like feeling the flow of warm air. I get cold, snuggle up, turn on the heat, and get toasty warm.
This time I took toasty to a whole new level.
I was out cold and didn't move until I heard the sizzle of frying bacon.
Delicious, I thought, what's for breakfast?
Imagine my surprise when I realized what was for breakfast was ME.
I looked down and saw more than minor burns across my belly approaching the Second Degree variety. I was indeed sizzling. All that was missing was the skillet.
Thankfully, the temperatures have warmed up, but once again, I pushed the limit of a proper bedtime.
Last night I was in bed and writing the ending of Chapter 3 of my third novel “Kitty Hawk.” 
I used to write everything out longhand once upon a time because I love the way the written word looks on paper. There's something soothing about the process of writing with a good pen, in marginally decent and legible penmanship, on paper. I like the feel of the pen gliding across paper.
Writing longhand slows the flow of words out of my head to a trickle, giving them time to filter and flow together as opposed to a full-on flush when I'm typing. The last typing test I took timed out at 92 words per minute. While I can't maintain that pace on a tiny laptop keyboard, I can type fast and it stirs up my thoughts, and words, like a good strong cup of Café Bustelo. Café Bustelo is Cuban for liquid cocaine.
So I'm writing and I come upon the word preeminent.
I see it coming three or four words in advance as my pen skirts the page and I pause to think how the word is spelled, is it P-R-E-E or P-R-I-E?
I ponder it a moment, then proceed, thinking if I get it wrong the Spell Check red line notification of a spelling error will appear underneath the word to let me know which is correct.
When I finished writing out preeminent, I actually stopped, looked.
And waited.
No red line.
That's when I realized the Ambien had kicked in.
It's a good thing in this case the pen really wasn't mightier than the sword. It'd be mighty sharp, and trust me, I've done that, too.

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