Sleepless in Taiwan, Again

It is after 2 a.m. that I write this entry. I am unable to sleep for a multitude of reasons. I lay down tonight and began to drift off. I even had the beginning of a dream, the details of which I cannot remember. I only remember waking up shortly after falling asleep and having a strong feeling of loneliness. That is a feeling that is no stranger to me lately, for I have no friends here. Actually, I have no friends anywhere, at least not the kind that are understanding of my plight and encouraging me to look ahead to bigger and better things. My dream must have had something to do with the stark reality of my desperate situation.

I didn’t want yet another entry full of doom and gloom. I’ve tried to avoid writing in my weblog altogether, striving to live by the “if you haven’t got anything good to say, don’t say anything” credo. The trouble is that this is supposed to be an account of my happenings, not a sugarcoated reflection upon how good things come to those who wait or some other such optimistic cliché. Frankly, I am still very much in the pits of despair. I find little happiness in my life now. Nearly all aspects of it give me great concern.

When I woke up with that uneasy feeling, I found it impossible to get back to sleep. That wasn’t because I couldn’t shake the feeling, because I can file those negative thoughts away when I need to, but because of the noisy environment, I found myself waking up to. My wife lay beside me, snoring very loudly. Usually, I am asleep before she is, and remain that way until morning, so I don’t have to hear her snoring. There have been times when it has been so loud that it wakes me up, though. Tonight, the volume was moderate. If it weren’t for additional distractions, I might have been able to fall asleep again.

My next-door neighbor has chickens. There is a rooster there that has no sense of time and spontaneously cock-a-doodle-do’s at random hours during random nights. After I woke up happened to be one of those random times. He’s not a very good crower, either. He emits more of a shrieking than a crowing sound. It is the sound I imagine the mythical harpy made when stealing Phineas’ food. I’ve been wondering since living here how would be the best way to approach my neighbor about the prospect of having his rooster castrated. Castration makes it so it wouldn’t crow. I’m fairly certain that he does not need the rooster to help produce more chickens, so he might not have a problem with the idea. I’m just not sure.

So, I went into the boys’ room and lay down beside Tyley. In that room, there are three beds, two single ones and one double. The two single ones are for the boys, and the double is for a guest. (My parents sleep there when they visit.) However, we are too poor right now to buy a mattress for Tyley’s bed, so he has been sleeping on the “guest bed.” I lay down beside him there, pulling his thumb from his mouth. That woke him up momentarily. He rolled over close to me, and I patted his back. I feel an enormous amount of love for that little guy. I wish he had better parents than his mother and me, though. We are not raising him in the right manner. Currently, my wife and I work a lot of hours. So, both Tyley and Billy are left alone for long periods of the day. I wish either my wife or I could spend more time with them, but our desperate financial situation prohibits that from happening.

As I lay beside Tyley, I could hear Billy grinding his teeth from his bed. Then, I heard Billy mutter, “stop!” and some other incoherent words. He was having a nightmare. So, I got up and sat beside him and patted his back, to calm him down. He turned toward me and rubbed my arm. This is something he’s had a habit of doing ever since he was born, rubbing someone’s arm. He’s done it many times to me, his mother, and his grandmother (my mother). He’s always been a very affectionate boy. I hope he can maintain that characteristic throughout his life.

Then there were the cars rushing by outside. Because I live across the street from a police station, it is quite noisy at times during the night. What happens is that young people love to rev up their car and motorcycle engines, as they speed by the police station. I guess it gives them a thrill, but I have no idea why. Perhaps it is some power-thing with them. I haven’t understood young people since I was one of them, and even then I didn’t understand them!

Because of all the various noises, I couldn’t get back to sleep. I went back to my bedroom, but my wife’s snoring volume had increased. A few months ago, my parents sent some Breathe-EZ strips at my request. I’ve asked my wife to use them. She said she would, but hasn’t done so to date. My parent also sent some earplugs at my request, because I thought my wife might not use the strips. The sad thing is that the earplugs, the type I used when I worked outside on the tarmac at the airport (with all the jet engines blasting), don’t cut out the sound of my wife’s snoring enough for me to fall asleep. Frankly, I’d have an easier time sleeping behind Boeing 757 as it roars away toward the runway.

I realize that this entry has been one negative comment after another. Such is the state of mind I am in now. I don’t foresee that it will change any time soon, but I’m trying. I am grasping onto every tiny little positive thought I can, to keep from being depressed. Each day is a struggle, as I still haven’t even reached the point where I’m taking each day at a time. The best I can manage is to take each step at a time. I thank Heavenly Father for making it possible for me to have made it through yet another day. I feel that He, for reasons unknown to me, has been helping make life bearable for me. Although I am on the brink of being overwhelmed, I manage to stay on the positive side of that brink. I hope I can continue on the right side. No, I hope that I can make some progress toward being more positive and putting some distance between myself and that brink. I wonder if that is asking for too much. I guess I’ll find out.

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