xxxiv. Guest Blogger: Alan West

26 June 2007 at 17:58 | Posted in Circadian rhythm | Leave a comment
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On our ‘niteowl’ list we give support and compare experiences. That list is a life-saver.

Now and then member Alan West, casting pearls for swine, finds and uses his most talentful pen. As here (with permission) on some results of sleep deprivation:

If the early-start enthusiast managers could somehow see the condition of the insides of our heads, I wonder what would happen? There might be some rather frenzied back-pedalling, along with long and tense conferences with their respective corporate insurance providers. Of course, there might not. 

 But how do we convey an accurate impression of our mental processes after early starting? After several years of early starting? Consider a more than usually drug-soaked short story. Various things happen in a headachy blur. Extraneous characters float in and out, unexplained. Strange things hide in the corners of the vision, wriggling and twitching and occasionally offering irrelevant comments in cartoonish voices. The co-workers have become a strange colour, and several do not appear to be touching the ground. Their faces have changed, and now they resemble famous people, long-dead physicists or gargoyles. The central character has to fight down the urge to slide small pieces of paper into the great creases in the faces of these gargoyles. 

The story continues. By now the readers understand, with mounting unease, that our central character, combining the worst of the mental states of Hunter S Thompson, Thomas de Quincy, and several other notorious drug-heads or drunks, has driven to work, managed to negotiate the stairs, found their desk, and is about to work on a huge and vastly important project that will affect the happiness of the entire human race. Can they find their pen? Can they remember any single fact about the project on which they are working? Can they remember their name, or where they live? Why are the pieces of paper on their desk moving about by themselves? Is there a goat hiding near the photocopier, leering?

The story concludes with the responsibility and sobriety of the central character being reinforced. The reader now knows that our hero is clean-living, and of sensible habits. But the weird stuff continues as the hero continues to look for their pen….

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Next:  xxxv. Can one figure out one’s own rhythms?

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