To whom it may have affected,
Today, I would like to issue a public apology. An honest one. A vaguely sincere one. An admission of guilt.
I realise now that my selfish actions have caused upset and disappointment. Its never been voiced to me. I’ve never been called on it. But I know.
Those aggrieved mutterings at the breakfast table. Those messages of confusion late at night. They eventually worm their way into your conscience, your character, your soul.
I have a problem, you see. A flaw in my nature. A failing of my humanity. One that I am now ready to admit. Ready to share.
I don’t say goodnight. Ever.
00:15 [Where are you?]
00:18 [Dave, are you in the toilets?]
00:23 [Have you gone home?]
The above is just one example of the grief I have caused. That midnight scene of confusion, playing itself out over a series of melodramatic SMS’s. Sent by a deserted soldier, abandoned at his post, two drinks in hand but no comrade to share them with.
And as the dawn breaks through my bedroom window, and I reach out of the bed for my smartphone, I discover my prior evening’s misconduct. The angry, blinking light informing me of multiple ignored notifications.
The remorse levels rise. The worm digs itself a little deeper. The heart strings tug.
I hadn’t said goodnight …
From a young age, through to my early thirties, I suffered from extensive bouts of insomnia. A full member of the wide awake club. Spinning out, twisting and turning like a Flemish knot, my brain pumped away like it was doing it on purpose.
As a child it was scary, freaking out all night, the night light appearing to shrink as the room of darkness expanded.
As an adult, I embraced it. I was on it! Always the last to bed. Always willing to stay out. Always awake, unless oblivion arrived early via excessive alcohol.
PATT one of my friend’s called me – Party All The Time.
I didn’t need sleep. I didn’t need rest. I laughed in sleep’s face before it could laugh back at me.
But those nights on my own, desperate for sleep, desperate for silence, my overactive mind just couldn’t rest. My eyes wouldn’t stay closed. My body wriggled and writhed.
So finally I did what I’ve always done. What everybody should always do. I told somebody my problem and asked for help … ha ha, lol! Of course I didn’t, I’m not that smart.
Instead, I figured it out all by myself … it just took 30 years of hard partying and solitary suffering before the solution finally revealed itself.
My main error, I recognised, was that I couldn’t make myself go to bed. Either I ignored my tiredness, or I embraced the PATT.
“Right I’m done. Home time,” I’d say.
“Really? Not one more beer?” they’d say.
“Oh, go on then,” I’d surrender.
Disappoint people? No way. Got to bed early? Not me. It made me quirky – that means interesting, right?
But all good things come to an end. All champions must concede defeat, retire gracefully, and lay down their weapons … or in this case, their head.
If I couldn’t say no, I realised, then I just wouldn’t give anyone the opportunity to ask the question … including myself. Solved at the source!
Feeling tired, then don’t fight it. Down tools and head to bed. No time for farewells. No time for sambucas. No time for bro-hugs and slurry I-love-youzzzzz.
And it worked! It still works. I sleep easy, most of the time. Maybe writing helps too, getting all those words out before they can buzz about in the witching hour.
And so there is my confessed excuse, offered graciously to the world. To those who have suffered this terrible ordeal of ignorance at my hands, you’ll now know where I am if I disappear.
I’m asleep, inconsiderate of your plight, at peace in my bed.
Either that, or I’m in a ditch … please keep texting me.
So it’s not goodnight from me. And it’s not goodnight from him. It’s ‘slapwel’ … cos it sounds funny in Flemish.