I did not sleep last night. I knew I wouldn’t by early evening, and even Aqila can now recognize when a night’s sleep will be forfeited for focused work or thought. This was evident when last night at around 10:30pm she said “You aren’t going to sleep tonight are you, you have that real focused look.”
She was right, and part of it was a bevy of new footage we shot last week waiting to be watched, but that is not what prompted this upshift in brain activity. Let me start a few hours earlier….
Aqila and I were asked to help out at our school’s Gala. A very expensive, posh event where heavy spenders from around the city, and even country attend to donate money and catch up with old friends. It is held in our main building, a fabulous greek structure that looms ever-present no matter where on campus you may be. To give you an idea on how legit this event was, I believe it grossed half a million dollars.
So my job was greet people at the door with my “charming smile and unique sense of humor” and show them to their table assignments. All the while making small talk to make the people feel more welcome. Now I pride myself on being able to find a common ground or conversation piece with almost anyone, so this assignment was right in my wheelhouse. I also understood that people paid a lot of money to come to this event and the evening could play a role on if and how much they donate in the future.
I have met a lot of the people who were attending the Gala at random times both on and off our campus. As some of you know I have a knack for remembering conversations, events, and interactions down the most seemingly inane detail. See where I am going with this?
Every face that came up the stairs I would trace through all my memories to see if they were in there…..to give you an example, one interaction went like this….(guest names not used). “Hi John I am…” “I know who you are Bob Jones, you gave a presentation in my class for Veterans day. You were an Army Ranger in the Painted Warriors Platoon and spent most of your time in the DMZ gathering intel which prompted your later career as a photographer….”
Bob would give a blank look, and then smile and say “Wow, you have a good memory.” To which I would say “Not really, but I remember the important stuff.” This sends them away feeling good. So I spent a couple of hours in this hyper-fixated mode of scanning, recalling, organizing, repeating. At one point I couldn’t stop recalling and categorizing and noticed one of the students who was working as a greeter with me was wearing the shoes of another student who was not there. It was like I couldn’t turn my brain off from scanning something and immediately trying to recall everything I knew about it. Hence I see shoes, my brain sees all the places it saw those shoes. The student was taken a little aback, admittedly it was sort of strange.
My second job was handing out bidding paddles for the auction that was being held. The paddles had both a name and a number that matched the place card that the guests received when they first arrived (much like a wedding). So as a line began to form at the paddle table I began scanning the crowd to see who was holding their place card. I would look at the name or number, go grab the paddle and deliver it to the person in line by greeting them by name and telling them they no longer had to wait in line. Not knowing how I knew their name, they felt a little famous, and walked away a little happier.
So after a few hours of asking this sort of performance from my brain I couldn’t expect to just turn it off. It was so bad I couldn’t even sit down at a table to eat dinner during the event because I was too antsy and fidgety. I kept having to change my view or I felt like I would get caught in thought loops because I had already observed and categorized everything at the table.
When we got home at about 10pm I spent the rest night watching footage and making notes, along with frantically rubbing pieces of fabric in-between my fingers until about 8am which is when I noticed I could stare off into space and get lost in thought. However I still have not slept. My body has recognized that it is now a new day, and sleep will come later.
I am also going to blame the lack of sleep on any spelling or grammatical errors within this entry. You see sleep is when the garbage men of your body go through your brain and clean out all the poorly made proteins from the previous day that act as speed bumps for thoughts. If you don’t sleep, the garbage men don’t come, and the speed bumps build up.
Anywho, I am going to enjoy not being focused for a bit.