Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Couple More Insomnia Mind Games

As most of my readers know, I have recurrent bouts of insomnia. Over the years, I've developed several different mind games that help me fall asleep on nights when I'm sleeping alone. Counting sheep just doesn't get it for me, nor does using the same mind game each time. I've written about this before, and today, I'll add two more that I'd not mentioned previously.

The first one will appeal to bibliophiles. In this fantasy, I've moved to some remote outpost where a new town is being built, typically in Alaska or someplace similar. I've only been able to take a few books with me.

The new town is bare bones, still developing. There's little more than a general store and a gas station in town, along with a few houses. I get a job in the general store that sells a little bit of everything. But no books.

Most of the people who come in are as hungry for something new to read as I am. But because it's in a remote area, traveling to the next town where there's a bookstore isn't a practical thing to do.

I decide to start a library in the corner of the general store. At first, all I have are the few books I brought with me, held upright with bookends on top of a shelf devoted to other goods. I ask others in the town to contribute and soon, we have a ragtag collection of dog-eared paperbacks and old magazines.

Then, each of us writes home asking people to send their old books, yard sale books, and so on. This generates some good books, but also a lot of those Reader's Digest Condensed books that no one wants. Nevertheless, we're glad to have even these, because there's so little to read up there.

The next step is ordering from Amazon and other sites and eventually one bookcase turns into two, until they have to expand the general store to build an entire room for the little library. If I'm still awake by this time, ultimately, the little town builds a small library building, separate from the general store.

The second fantasy is similar in some ways to the first, in that it's about starting with very little and expanding.

In this one, there's an interstate highway that has a long stretch of highway going through a sparsely populated area. There's one section that has 200 miles of flat land between exits. The state decides to make another exit halfway in between for a refueling stop.

This is done and a small sixties-style gas station is built, at a empty crossroads right by the highway. There is one attendant who sleeps on a cot in the back room, who later puts a small trailer behind the gas station.

Soon, the business grows and the gas station is renovated into a large convenience store with several islands of gas pumps. More people are hired to work at the gas station, which generates several more trailers put on a new side street near the gas station/convenience store.

Not long after that, a Days Inn type motel is built on the other side of the gas station, with a Waffle House soon following that, attached to the motel. This, in turn, generates a new apartment complex for the motel and restaurant workers.

On the other side of the overpass near the ramp going down in the opposite direction, a McDonald's opens, a small dollar store, then an auto repair business for stranded travelers appears.

I never stay awake long enough to see the entire town built, however. I'm always asleep long before the ubiquitous Wal Marts and CVS stores enter the scene.

I'm going to bed now, but I don't think I'll need either of these two mind games to fall asleep tonight.

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