You know what I'm talking about.
All that lying awake. All that being so tired. But uncomfortably alert.
Too warm. Too cool. Too thirsty.
Too distracted by the dog sounds in the kitchen - the incessant clicking of toenails and relentless slurping of water and the heavy thumping down on the rug and terrible shaking of the furniture like the dog at night inexplicably weighs two hundred pounds and has just lost the ability to stand.
Counting backward from a thousand while memories of all the ways you've ever treated someone badly and regrets about what you haven't yet accomplished with your life flutter around inside your head trying to distract you. You're a terrible person and now you can't even count. Now you're intellectually deficient, too, on top of being just a big, plain old meanie. Mwahaha!
Reading with a flashlight so you don't wake up the spouse. Sighing heavily, hoping just a little that he'll wake up anyway at the sound and then you won't be alone with your insomnia and your general inadequacy at functioning as a human being. (But if you wake your spouse on purpose, that's just another count against you in the Terrible Person department which means the insomnia will probably be worse tomorrow. There's a complicated karma involved here. You'll have to start counting back from two thousand, but you weren't even very good at doing it the first way, were you? Mwahaha!)
Insomnia remedies, anyone? I've been collecting them since grad school. Oh, grad school! When I never slept at all! I have in my collection so far: Valerian, hot chamomile tea, hot peppermint tea, milk, baths before bed, fake Xanax, emailing, the whole getting up and reading thing, counting backwards from a thousand, and making strange little poems from those poetry magnet collections on the fridge in the dark. Many of these things work well when we're not in a full-on insomnia nightmare but just a little restless, but nothing seems to work against the I-word. And I have never tried brandy.
Raphael says to make tea with the leaves from an orange tree. His sister this for me once in Guatemala and it seemed to work. Or I was just that tired that she could've made me tea from newspapers and I would've fallen asleep. And craftily, our orange tree this summer has produced no actual oranges but a zillion tons of leaves, so I will try the tea tonight.