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Jan 28 2002 Kelly Norton
Most valuable lesson learned from a sleepless night: Don't tempt irony, just go to bed at 4am like you always do.

2am: Thinking I could make a surprising early Monday arrival at work and shave from my to do list a couple of the more focus intensive entries, I set to bed uncharacteristically early with the alarm set for 8am. Within thirty minutes, I knew that I was screwed. My mind kept pouring over the thought that scientific progress is nothing but the shifting of language signifiers, an idea that carried over from something I read earlier that night. The trouble always begins there, with a mind that will not listen to reason, and then deteriorates as I try to introduce other less engaging topics to tempt my train of thought into boredom and then into sleep. At one time, I was able to count sheep, but ever since that Wallace and Gromit cartoon, A Close Shave, that method has proven ineffective in all but a few cases. There is also the issue of physical discomfort, but I've discovered it to be primarily a side effect of the over excited mind. Last night, my mind was racing, from postmodern crap to car buying strategies, from the virtues of budgetary restraint to the delight of after dinner espresso. I just tossed around listening to the swoosh of semi trucks on late night delivery runs.

4am: Suddenly I sit straight up startled by the sound of bushes rustling outside. Seconds later, I hear what sounds like the screen being ripped from a window. I immediately leap from bed and run to the window expecting to see someone climbing in a downstairs window, but the bushes are still. While there is silence, I run to my office to retrieve the cordless phone, and return just in time to hear more shuffling. On the brink of calling the police, I realize that the sounds are coming from my neighbor's porch. Disturbingly loud sounds coming from their apartment in the wee hours is nothing out of the ordinary, so I settle back into bed hoping that my mind will remain distracted long enough to get to sleep.

5:30am: More sounds outside the apartment. I sit up and say "What in the hell are they doing?" When I get to the window, their porch light is on and I see the silhouette of someone adjusting the window. I slide open the window and listen to someone mumble obscenities. Minutes later the light goes out and I hear their door close.

8am: The alarm clock goes off, and Kristen is asking me if that's my alarm. I respond only in my dream, so she asks me again. (I'm unsure of whether I answered her, but she reset the alarm and climbed back into bed.)

9am: The alarm clock goes off again, this time I get up long enough to AIM work and tell them that I'm going to be a little late and to pull a thick hardcover book off of my bookshelf. I take the book into the bedroom and throw it in the air about 10 times allowing it to crash on the floor near the wall.

11am: I'm standing outside looking at the destroyed screen and window on my neighbor's porch. Putting together the pieces and concluding that one of them tried to break into the porch after being locked out of the apartment. Finding the sliding glass doors locked, he had little recourse but to bang mercilessly on the front door. Then afraid that he had done irreparable damage to the window, went back out on the porch to reposition it in the frame. I continued on to work tired and irritated; Kristen stopped by the leasing office to file a complaint. I say to myself, "tonight, I won't go to bed before 4, for sure."
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