I had one of those nights last night. I woke at 3.30 needing to pee (it’s a constant aggravation having to empty one’s bladder in the middle of the night) and instantly my brain did that standing to attention thing and saluted smartly at some incoming ideas. Why do ideas choose the ungodly hour of 3 am? Don’t answer that – I already know why. It’s because there are no distractions, and because the brain has been chuntering away during the hours of sleep and like an eager intern who’s been working through her lunch hour, presents me with a whole sheaf of new thoughts.
I know this kind of wakefulness. I know it has to run its course and that after a while you may get a window of opportunity to try to sleep some more. So I lay and sifted through the ideas – a process which of course generates more ideas – for about an hour and a half. I can’t absolutely swear I didn’t nod off for a bit during that time but I don’t think I did; after a while I’d had enough and decided to hit the old noggin with some sleep techniques. I have a few of these, garnered from Paul McKenna’s book, so I started with counting down from 300 to zero – and by the time I’d got to 99 I was in a swimming pool. I’d finished my swim and was just about to get out. There was another woman in there but nobody else, just the male lifeguard. Another man came in and both men began to harass the other woman. Right, I thought. I climbed out of the water and strode towards the exit where the men were. ‘There’s a door there,’ I said to one of them. ‘I’m going to walk through it and you are going to let me.’ I wasn’t entirely sure this would work, but he just said nothing and let me pass. Out in the corridor I called the police.
Next thing I remember, a police officer is congratulating me. He’s played by an actor from the schlocky drama I’ve been watching, Industry. This does not seem strange to me. ‘Well done,’ he says, ‘you’ve just saved a woman from being raped.’
Then I go to work and everyone stands round applauding my actions. This is very gratifying. Next thing, I’m on my way home and preparing to tell OH all about it but before I get there I wake up and realise it’s not real.
And the moral of the story is… if you’re going to have a disturbed night it’s always better to end up with a vivid dream, especially one where you’re the hero.