Bedtime reading

Is it an age thing … these sleepless nights?

It’s become a weekly ritual: wake at 1 a.m., flop over on stomach, lie on left side, lie on right side, revert to back. Spend first half-hour remembering phone calls we neglected to return and all we need to accomplish tomorrow (today, actually).

Next half-hour is devoted to a review of top 10 dumb things we said yesterday, major life decisions, potential fatal health issues, missed opportunities and social failings. Then a lightning round of the pros and cons of just getting up and starting the day.vina-maipu

Pros: coffee, morning paper (except it’s not here yet), time to send affectionate emails to subjects of social failings (see above), time for exercise, opportunity to have a complete conversation on an actual topic with our spousal unit.

Cons: coffee headache, inability to concentrate, an IQ you could count on the fingers of one finger, sluggishness, tendency to drift off in the middle of afternoon meetings, inability to speak English.

The cons outweighed the pros, so we redoubled our efforts to conk out. We tried conscious breathing: a surefire technique from our Zen period. You clear your mind of all thought and just inhale, exhale. But conscious breathing means you’re not unconscious, which means you are awake.

Then we heard a car stop and footsteps crunching on the gravel path to our steps. The newspaper guy had arrived. We got up.

As advertised, it was a difficult day. Word-retrieval failure went into overdrive. We had lost the ability to operate a motor vehicle. Coffee nerves. We knew what we had to do, but for that we had to wait until the sun was over the yardarm.

As evening fell, we whipped up a linguine with artichoke heart sauce, sausages, French bread and salad and washed it all down with a 13-year-old Viña Maipu Malbec from Argentina. Just what the doctor ordered. In fact, ’twas a doctor who furnished the Maipu Malbec.

But the heavy Italian dinner and excellent wine were not the complete cure. If deep and restorative slumber is the object, it is imperative that you curl up with the wine maker’s notes. Example: “Maipu is a wine-growing sub-zone of Argentina’s largest viticultural region, Mendoza. The vineyard land stretches south toward the Mendoza River, encompassing the smaller regions of Barrancas, Lunlunta and Coquimbito … (eyes getting heavy) … The similarly extensive Lujan de Cuyo region is located just to the west of Maipu, and San Martin is 32 km to the east … (hard to concentrate) … The diurnal temperature variation slows ripening overnight, extending the growing season and leading to the development of varietal character without losing precious acidity (can’t go on much longer) … One might be forgiven for confusing Maipu with the similarly named Maipo Valley wine region in Chile. The name commemorates the 1818 Battle of Maipu … (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz).

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]
Stephen Fay

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