The beginning of the end

I haven’t been sleeping well — every night I wake up, look at the clock, and see that it’s 3am, and know that I’m going to be in a fog all day — and tonight at midnight is the deadline for all my Genetics students to turn in their take-home exams. So I got up this morning, glanced at my inbox, and discovered that many of those industrious little rascals had turned in their exams early. That’s good, but I need to drink a lot more coffee to get my brain into action. I have to get this dealt with by Thursday, because Thursday at midnight is the deadline for my intro biology take-home exam. This scenario of deadlines catching me unwilling and unprepared is going to go on all week.

There is a light at the bottom of the pit of despond, though! The plan is for me to be a good boy and get all this paperwork done, then to take a day to recover and get rested up, and then to hop in the car and drive for 12 hours straight to finally see Mary again in Colorado! And Iliana! And Skatje & Kyle! Then we’ll spend a restful couple of days in the company of a busy 1½ year old before Mary & I hop in the car again and drive north for 12 hours. Everything will be back to normal, as it hasn’t been since she flew away at the end of February.

I do have this nagging dread in the back of my head that the instant my circumstances are restored, that’s the moment I come down with COVID-19 and die. Or worse, the moment I run to her arms I wake to gasp out my last breath on a ventilator, a morbid twist on An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

Man, a lack of sleep messes with your head.


  1. stroppy says

    “Man, a lack of sleep messes with your head.”
    I can attest to that!

    Travel safely.

  2. Jazzlet says

    Lack of sleep certainly does mess with your head, it makes me into a snarling, short tempered ball of fury.

    One of the jobs I have had over the years was Road Safety officer so sorry but …is a twelve hour drive a safe thing to do if you are at least somewhat sleep deprived? Don’t forget when thinking about that that we tend to overestimate how capable we are of doing things, especially when our thinking is impaired by say lack of sleep, maybe prepare yourself for the possibility you’ll need to do the drive in two shifts with an overnight stop. Tired driving is as bad as drunk driving in terms of the causes of accidents.

  3. says

    Get a lot of sleep before you start venturing out to travel anywhere – more sleep = better immune system, and less chance of catching horrible diseases.

  4. nomaduk says

    Not to worry. With a bit of luck, there’ll be a large, as-yet-undetected rock coming our way to add to the global warming and pandemic and it’ll just finish us off.

  5. says

    The plan is that I drive halfway there as Mary & Kyle drive halfway here — we meet in the middle so we can swap drivers and caravan back to Colorado, so I won’t be doing one long 12 hour stint by myself.

  6. robro says

    Not sleeping well seems to be a thing right now. I woke up at 3am this morning. Fortunately got back to sleep after an hour. My son said he didn’t sleep well Friday night. He said he wasn’t sure he was even asleep, though not conscious. Everybody around here is cranky and stressed which I’m sure is the result of shelter-in-place. I wonder if the sleeplessness is, too.

  7. kestrel says

    Hooray for having the family back together! Also that sounds like an excellent plan as far as driving/drivers.

    Sleep deprivation seems just a part of life right now. There are a plethora of things to be anxious about.

  8. davidc1 says

    Good luck ,i once drove from Tuscon AZ to Kingman NV in one go ,at least out in the countryside American Roads are almost empty .
    Or have i just be lucky ?

  9. nomdeplume says

    @6 But two 6 hour stints are a long time even for a young fellow like yourself PZ. Take it easy. We worry you know.

  10. bad Jim says

    Shouldn’t it be “slough of despond”?

    (“Slough” rhymes with “bough”, not “cough”, “dough”, “rough”, “though” or “through”).

  11. nomdeplume says

    @14 Quite right Jim, but I am sure PZ was thinking that the S of D was indeed the pits…

  12. llyris says

    Good news! You must be looking forward to having Mary home. As well as visiting small people. Stay safe.