by Liam Hogan
@TheNight does not follow @TheDay.
I tweeted @TheNight, asking him why. He tweeted back: “@TheDay hasn’t posted anything for two years, what’s the point?”
I follow @TheLeader, I follow @MyNose, and from my very first day on Twitter, I follow @TheWhiteRabbit. I follow five hundred or so others, and yet at 3am, when sleep again evades me, it is still not enough.
I click refresh. Five new tweets. We really are in the graveyard shift. I eye them, hoping for something to enliven these weary hours. I could tweet something myself, of course. See if anyone is listening. Tell them I can’t sleep. The normal response, if any response there is, is “have you tried logging off Twitter / Facebook / Whatever?”
Yes, I’ve tried that. I’ve tried counting sheep. Counting followers. Counting tweets. Counting chain coffee shops on the local high street. I’ve tried camomile. I’ve tried always going to bed at the same time, going to bed only when I’m tired, which, nowadays, is always, tried going to bed and lying there, as the hours pass slowly by, until the dawn chorus announces the beginning of a new day, and I wearily drag myself back to work, to my desk that only differs superficially from the one I sit at now, watching the clock tick towards 4.
Perhaps if I didn’t have a job that scrambles the reward centres in my brain. Perhaps if I went back to University, retrained, applied myself. And I would. I might. If only I wasn’t so tired.
I’m not the only one. I see the commuters at the beck and call of their iPhones. I share my cubical farm with a gross of similarly motivated men and women. They all end up dancing the same three-step: Hope, Click, Disappointment. Unable to watch a film for more than a few minutes, or read a book for more than a few pages, without checking for fresh updates.
Who do you think is tweeting at this time in the morning? Lost souls, all of us. Victims of the modern age. Pavlov’s dogs in human form, trained to respond to the ping of an email, a text, a tweet.
I should go to bed. But there’s a bird chirping away outside the window. It’s still dark, I think: just gone 5. I should go to bed, but in an hour’s time my alarm will ring and I’ll have to emerge from my cocoon and wind my way to work.
When you’re tired, the way I am tired, your mind plays tricks on you. Like someone on a roundabout, too tired to negotiate the exit, it goes round... and round... and round. Whether it is the stuck lyric from a song, or an internal, circular argument, it plays itself over and over, but you’re too tired to break free.
Which is why, as I imagine the dawn behind the blinds that are always kept closed, I begin to wonder: why @TheDay does not follow @TheNight?
published 6 May 2015