The Works of Tedd Bear - Novels, Short Stories, Art, Craft and Commentary
Sep
7

The Life and Times of Peter Gale

written by Tedd Bear

“Insomnia” by Tedd Bear

My name is Peter Gale.  Today, I sleep like a baby.  I guarantee you it was not always this way.  I know some of you reading this do not sleep well either.  I battled trying to fall asleep as you do today.

Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip….I would sit in bed awake wishing I could fall asleep.  The faucet seemed to be a drum beating incessantly to an evil rhythm.  Lights that were barely visible an hour ago shine like the sun rising in the east.  The temperature seems to fluctuate between cold and hot every 5 minutes.  I wished to fall asleep and even to a certain extent I tried to will myself asleep.  I counted sheep. I did relaxation techniques focusing on my feet and working my way slowly up my body to my head focusing on each segment of my body and attempting to force it to relax, breathing easier and more controlled as I moved my mind over my body willing it to relax.    Nothing worked.

Each night I could feel my anxiety rising as I looked at the clock counting the minutes and hours that seemed to move unnaturally against time itself.  When I thought  myself to have fallen asleep, I would wake from this false sleep and look at the clock only to find that the time had only progressed 5 minutes.  In some cases less time and in some, more.  Did I sleep, sure, one could say that because in the moments of this very un-restful sleep, time did move, albeit, not as it does in the normal world of restful bliss.  The clock behaved as a force full of conscious and breath itself, diametrically opposed to my desire to be unconscious.  This evil force seemed each night to move within its own will, mocking me with its ambivalence.

My wife would lay next to me seemingly a corpse in its final resting place.  She entered a death of mind and body no more than 30 seconds from when her head hit the pillow and the light was extinguished.  I hated her for it.  The ability to rest unaware of the pain of consuming disquiet I endured night after night of sleeplessness was an offense to me.

And she hated me.  I was irritable, overweight, tired and useless as a lover in bed.  I could no longer satisfy her and she no longer aroused any interest in me.  She was just that person that could sleep next to me and I was the helpless bastard condemned to stair at the ceiling all night angry for my situation.

I tried medications of all types but they seemed to do nothing more than make me more dysfunctional the following morning.   I tried warm milk, Benadryl, Somnex, Somnitrol, and all the over the counter medications to no effect.  My doctors would not approve prescriptions because of the now apparent mental distress I was already under.  It had seemed hopeless and I learned to live a miserable existence with this condition.

The night passed as it began with me zoning in and out of consciousness.  I got up in the morning, prepared for work and ate a small breakfast consisting of a cup of coffee and a frozen leggo waffle warmed to a gooey consistency in the toaster.  As usual my lovely wife slept oblivious to anything else in the world.  Did I also mention, she did not work?

I stumbled across a solution to my insomnia and this is that story.  I give you this story but make no claims about its efficacy for you.  I wish you sleep, whether or not you are able to acquire the solution as I have.  As always in these cases, some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Part I

I drove drowsily to work, as each day unfolded before me.  Today, I could not help but dread going in to face the assholes I was forced to work with.  One in particular, Hank was a short, Italian, and old bastard with a short man’s complex to go along with a supreme lack of skill or discernable human qualities.  The only problem was the manager I worked under placed an enormous amount of confidence in this Lilliputian specimen of a man.  He rewarded him for his inhuman behavior with something like the position of Program Manager.  In theory, and according to this manager, this person had no authority over us.  The issue is that he forgot to tell this son of a bitch that he in fact did not have any authority.  So day after day, he harassed each of us on the team to the point of forcing us through a desire to not deal with him, to do his evil bidding.  Unfortunately, as stated, the ignorant manager did not see or comprehend not only the negative effect of this person on our project, but at least 4 of us were plotting his eventual demise.

We dealt with Hank as minimally as possible, dreading attending meetings with him.  We would have to listen to ignorant drivel from someone obsessed with his own voice, plagued with a complete lack of observable skills.  In meetings he dominated conversations, and worse, contradicted himself and others incessantly.

I sincerely believed he contributed to my issues as an insomniac because each and every day, I could feel my pressure rise just from being in his presence.  I could not take the guy.  Just his voice grated my every nerve.  He bragged about being Italian because apparently everyone from New York was Italian.  I did not know that they only allowed Italians to breed there but apparently…  I suppose somewhere deep in his ancestral line there was an Italian lover that had his way with his mother.  Sadly enough that doesn’t mean he had Italian in him but definitely means his mother at one point or another had Italian deep within her.

His last name bore no resemblance to any Italian I knew.  It actually sounded French since it began with a B and ended with a French sounding ard.  I personally never knew Italians with this suffix but what do I know?  I’m from the south.  All we have are Smiths, Brewers, McCunes and other English or Scottish slave owners’ names.  I’m sure there are others but it did not matter at this point.  This guy was obviously confused.

Today was like the others I had while working on this particular team. Hank typically wore something reminiscent of a redneck’s repertoire.  He dressed in a plain shirt, khakis and slip in moccasins that had not seen a day of polish since they existing the manufacturers production room.

We began in our staff meeting discussing the status of a project of which each of us had a critical component to complete.  Mine happened to be related to the commercial aspect of the project.  I designed the functionality of the tool to ensure that commercial rules were followed and executed properly in the tool.  Anita Anderson managed the portion of the project dedicated to calculations.  Dick Perry managed the execution side of things and Paul Sirosfski ensured that the rules the tool followed were created and input into the coding.  It wasn’t enough to have each of these managers looking after their portions of the project.  Hank always managed to find a way to interject his own opinions.

Vic, asked, “Paul can you give me an update on the rules?”

Sure, I have asked for our vendor to update us on the rules engine and they have not gotten a payment yet for the consulting so they are waiting for Hank to issue a payment.  They told me that Hank promised to issue the payment last week but they are still waiting.”

“I asked you if they were done with the consulting portion Paul.”  Replied Hank.

“Yes, if you look at the email from two weeks ago, you will see that I told you that they were finished and required payment before they could start the next phase.”

“I don’t recall that email Paul.  Can you resend to me?  By the way, have you completed the coding of the rules we already have?”

“Hank, Paul has given me a status update already.  He already said he is waiting on the rules engine to go forward.” Vic replied.

“ I understand, but I did not know so I did not issue payment.”  Hank responded.

“Hank, we already agreed that the rules engine did not have anything to do with me finishing up my portion.  We only needed to finish the consulting part so that I would know how to input the rules.  This has nothing at all to do with payment.  Now the schedule is going to be delayed!  We need to issue payment to move forward!”

“Hank, when can you issue payment?”  Vic asked.

“I was working with Anita and Dick to help them.  As soon as I am done there I’ll issue payment.”

But Hank, we only asked you to tell us our scheduled completion dates, not for help in our area.  We are not the holdup here.”  Said Anita.

“Ok, ok can we move on?”  Said Vic.

And so went the staff meetings and basically any interactions with Hank.  We never seemed to make any progress when we relied on Hank to do his job.  Yet, in spite of this, we could never get any assistance from the manager.

Paul was not the only one to deal with this.  Each of us sat defending our work when the issue was not our work but the lack of action from Hank.  I was literally ready to pull my hair out and I’m sure I was not alone in this.

The day completed with me ready for several drinks at the local bar.  When I arrived, the usual set of drinkers were there slamming down a variety of intoxicants like no tomorrow.  I had a couple and decided I would head home.  I had some work to do and figured I could get a head start on tomorrow and avoid the Hank issues.

I got home and immediately my wife, Sarah, began.

“Where have you been?”  I have been waiting here for you so that we could go out and get something to eat.  Now, its damn near nine o’clock and I’m starving.”

“Why didn’t you call me?” I countered.  “I had a hard day at work.”

“You think you are the only one with a hard day?”  Sarah asked.

“Sarah, what is so hard about being at home all day?  All you have to worry about is paying the bills and keeping up with the latest daytime soap operas.  In fact, why haven’t you cooked anything?  Why do we keep spending so much money on eating out?  Every once and a while it would be nice to have a meal at home!”

I could feel myself yelling and getting out of control.  I really didn’t care because I would not be having sex anyway.  Really, as usual,  I was not in the mood.  Sarah just shut down.  To have some peace and keep from messing up my high from the bar I acquiesced and we ended up at a local restaurant eating in silence.

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