I have to exorcise this demon before I sleep.
I have always been a bit of night owl. I was one of those rare children who stayed up, slept through, and greeted the dawn with cries of horror and much hiding of the head under the pillow. This being so, I have never found it easy to get to sleep early. Even as a child I tended to stay awake much later than my elder sister and suffered all manner of anxiety about trying to sleep when I couldn’t. It just isn’t normal for me. It still isn’t but it was more difficult before coffee and learning to live with continual sleep deprivation. (Actually, come to think of it I am a very picky sleeper. Still, back to the story at hand.) Anyway, as I was saying, even when I was quite little I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep at proper child hours. I think my parents were generally understanding (they were never the kind of people who were overly (HA!) disciplinarian, or disciplinarian at all) and they took little things like a night owl daughter quite calmly and rationally. They didn’t, from what I recall, make too much fuss about my un-childlike sleeping habits.
If I couldn’t sleep I must have been in the habit of sneaking out of bed and back to the living room where at least one of my parents was usually to be found. I vaguely recall doing this so I guess it must have happened fairly often. The time period I’m talking of was the early eighties when we lived in a little flat in Sydney’s inner west (yes, home sweet home) and my crazy-arsed shift working daddy was working as a security guard at the Opera House. He certainly wasn’t around this particular night as I snuck out of bed and hid behind the couch to watch whatever my mother was watching on tv. (Oh my mother, she’s always been one for sharing her emotions with whoever’s around. Sweet but sometimes so wildly inappropriate.) It was some show that has only just started and obviously something that she was watching with fascination. She fairly quickly realised I was there and, presumably, figured that I wasn’t about to go to sleep in a hurry, she let me stay with her on the couch. She let me stay with her on the couch and watch a programme about a nuclear holocaust. To this day I remember enough of that show to freak me out at unexpected moments. It seemed very realistic to my quite little self and it left one hell of an impression. Quite a lot of the dreams that I recall are apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic. I am always a survivor – how’s that for ego? And I maintain a certain train-wreck horror/fascination with fiction relating to nuclear war/holocausts/accidents. In short, I don’t wanna but I do. And always, when I do, in the back of my mind are scenes from this programme.
The beauty of the internet is that shortly after thinking about and writing about Z for Zachariah and, naturally, dawdling back to the source of my nuclear holocaust fascination I was able to find, or at least think I’ve found the show in question. Great, I think. It doesn’t really change anything though, does it? Still, yay internet, I’ve wondered about that for years.P.S. I am such a pussy and so freaked out that I just jumped when a flower dropped on to the tabletop. Who wants to put money on my next post topic?