Thursday, September 21, 2006

The last tiny mile before I sleep

We all have bedtime routines – the order of activities that, night after night, signal to our minds that sleep is imminent. I always wash my face before brushing my teeth, and the socks are always the last to come off before I crawl under the covers. But before all of that I check my email. I rarely respond to anything that may have shown up, yet still pad down the hall to see, and spend a few minutes with the last of my wine, a final cigarette, and (most often) the Weather Network (or, if I'm feeling masochistic, my bank statement). It’s become such a force of habit that I can’t remember not doing it, although I know that this part of my pattern is relatively recent – I wasn’t nearly as conscious of email until moving here two years ago. Not that I was computer illiterate, but before Montreal my bedtime habit consisted of curling up with a book for half an hour. It saddens me that I've given that up in favour of my computer, I have so little time to read for pleasure as it is, and I find myself getting sketchy if I go too long without some fiction in my life. Some of this compulsion is professional – it’s hard to distinguish between Andrea-at-home and Andrea-the-teacher after this long. Most of it, though, has to do with the inevitable repeated separations of the student life, uprooting myself every few years to move to a new city, a new degree, a new set of friends. The more I do this, however, the less I care to. I love the friends I've made and the friendships I've maintained; at the risk of sounding callous I’d rather have them than new ones. I like to go to bed with the full knowledge of their day and the sense that regardless of distance they’re still the closest.


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