I know, I know, lovely light evenings, barbecues, kids playing in parks and gardens after school and not messing up the house for the umpteeenth time. I get that Summer is grand. What I don't get is why the Powers That Be have to take a precious hour of my sleep?
Did you know there's a sleep bank? And that sleep debt and sleep deficit are actual real-life, honest-to-Betsy terms? The Sleep Bank, hereafter the Royal Bank of Slumber or RBS, works like any other bank. If you withdraw a period of time - for example when you get one of those baby-things that wakes you constantly with demands for food and cuddles - you never get it back, unless you re-deposit the exact amount of time you borrowed. You actually have to sleep back any hours you spend, you know, on those baby-things, or tequila-soaked parties, or, um, the baby-things, or that sleep is gone. Vanished. For ever and ever, Ayawn. Some studies state that if you don't pay the time back and your balance ducks below your over-draft limit, your body and mind begin to suffer.
So what does some bright spark do in an effort to keep the mornings and evenings light in our varied seasonal time-zone? They decide to steal an hour. From me. From us all. Straight out of our accounts at RBS. Sleep is a precious commodity, like gold or oil. I sleep next to a man who is, to say the least, a fitful sleeper. By fitful I mean he will often wake me up, in a disconcerting wakeful sleep, to inform me, for example, that the roof of the coal face is about to crush me and the baby chickens and we need to leave the lagoon IMMEDIATELY!! At which point I thump him, then roll over, harumphing, bemoaning another precious few minutes stolen from my RBS account. I used to be kinder to him, by the way. I used to sit up, stroke his hand and wait for him to wake, reassuring him that everything was fine, there was no tarantula the size of a saucepan marching up the bedcovers, no army of Italian-American gangsters stealing the chocolate biscuits downstairs, but thumping and harumphing ultimately has the same effect and uses up fewer sleep minutes. So forgive me if I huff a bit, if I stand against all you British Summer Time enthusiasts, but stealing this hour upsets me. I mean Monday morning is bad enough without quarter to seven o'clock becoming quarter to six o'bloody o'clock.
There is significant debate over the issue of British Summer Time. I read a bit about it but, probably because I was tired because of the hour taken from my bank, I didn't understand it. Options appear to be: we could switch to a system of Single/Double Time, which sounds like a Thai prostitute's after-midnight rates (Hey Mister, I love you single/double time), but this would apparently plunge Scotland into winter darkness until 10.30am. Or we could keep the clocks on GMT all year round, which sounds sensible to me. Or we could keep time with Europe, but that's probably all together too unified for us Brits. Maybe we should just hibernate from October to April and be done with it? At least we could all get our bank accounts in the black again. [Pauses to daydream lovingly of hibernation...]
Worrying about my sleep bank is a moot point really, because of all the baby-things I have found myself responsible for. There's been such extreme fiscal tightening for the last 14 years that in these harsh times of recession, cutbacks and striking, quite frankly, it doesn't matter how many goddamn hours are or are not taken, one thing remains the same, I'm knackered. So knackered I'm forced to turn to the coffee shark, who rubs his evil, caffeiney hands together, waiting for desperate, sleepbankrupted people to turn to him. If it wasn't for the coffee shark I'd most likely fall asleep all over the place without warning, like River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho or the Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland.
Yep, thanks to the state of our banks, the black coffee market is thriving. Coffee. Black Gold. The second most valuable global commodity after oil. The world's single most traded commodity. Without it there'd be snoring piles of debtors curled up on pavements, in conference rooms, in warm, cosy cupboards. Oh dear me, all this talk of economics and warm, cosy cupboards has me feeling...really...rather sleepy. Excuse me while I pop the kettle on and crack into yet another jar of pure Gold Blend.
PS As a post-script to this post - added a day after the orginal writing when I'd slept a bit more and had a gallon of remedial coffee - I must add that I know we actually get paid our hour back in October. So it's not thieving in it's literal sense. Merely long-term borrowing. And on this day in October, when I'm snuggled under my duvet enjoying what feels like a free hour in bed, I must admit to feeling total, absolute, blissful happiness.