I waste time. But not in the same way that I usually do it. I’m always up nights, twittering, reading, working on recent photos. My day ends somewhere between 3 and 4, at which point I go to bed, which alerts the cats to begin their trills of demand for food from my softhearted wife. I use a cocktail of Xanax, Benadryl, Doxepin, melatonin, and my nighttime anti-psychotics and mood-stabilizers to stall my brain into torpor. I sleep well and I sleep deep until about noon or one o’clock in the afternoon, an unconventional hour but one that I can manage thanks to my unemployment and insistence on afternoon appointments.
If I am manic, I forget to take the meds until a later hour and do not feel their slowing until after Lynn has gone to work at nine. I lay in bed, staring at the pockets inside the sheets, groping for rest. Mania purposes me to a different set of activities, First, reading is impossible. My eyes fly over the words, ignoring the middles of sentences and barely noticing the presence of paragraphs. I have missed whole scenes and whole characters when I am in this state. For this reason, as my condition advanced in the late twentieth century, I read less and less. Volumes I wanted to peruse stood on my shelf for years, unopened and stinking of dust. There was no accomplishment during this time except as resulted from my strange habit of digesting dictionaries.