I get tired sometimes, with early call times for work and long commutes that can be measured in flights not drives. It’s better if I don’t drive, as I have had my eyes open for long enough that purple iridescent blotches appear in my line of sight. The purple creates even more blind spots, blocking out entire vehicles, big trucks swerving into my lane suddenly invisible.
When I get this way, then I am too tired to sleep, and that is when the magic truly happens. My eyes are permanently red and I sustain a permanent midnight within, internal clock striking 12 in a constant beat. The makeup required for each particular job gets layered onto itself in sticky patches. I feel like the underside of a grade schooler’s desk, the back of a seat in an old theatre, covered with traces of old gum and dried up soda.
Violet triangles raise under my eyes, as if they are trying to point me to a bed somewhere. My face is sore to the touch, my neck is stiff and cracks when I turn my head. I drink all the water I can hold but it does nothing but make me always have to run to the bathroom.
Hallucinations follow this state of eternal wakefulness, and if I am with someone else who is also tired, we compete in a folie a’deux – a shared madness. Once when on an ill-planned road trip with another comic, we drove all night on interstates with nothing but acidic truck stop coffee to sustain us. It had been many days without sleep and as we flew by the trucks in our path, we both witnessed white horses changing lanes in front of us, and to this we said only
‘did you see that?’
‘maybe we should go to sleep.’