I slept away the afternoon on my birthday, which was a Thursday.
I had vague ambitions for the day, which included transcribing an interview I’d done weeks earlier in mid-July, a task that had been hanging over my head for ages. It would be a gift to myself to get it done, I figured, and if I finished, I could do some writing of my own. Or catch up on emails. Or get a head-start on a new project. Or read.
Instead, I ate cake for breakfast, went out for coffee, and walked home in the rain without an umbrella. When I got there, I sat down at the table, tried again to write. Nothing came.
So I closed my eyes and slept instead, for hours, the sky outside a blur of clouds.
“Why am I so tired all the time?” I asked Lily that evening, as we walked through Williamsburg in search of dinner and the ingredients for a second cake. It had been an eventful summer; my memories of it were a flip-book of faces, flights, silent discos, sunrises. “Do you think I’ve done permanent damage to my brain?” I wondered aloud.
“I think you’re tired,” said Lily, “because you don’t sleep.” (A valid point: as both a night owl and an early riser, rest is a rarity.)
I asked the same question of Jamie one morning at our kitchen table. I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I told her. I felt like I needed a nap every day.
“I like to be active,” I said, “I like packing as many things as possible into a day.”
She quoted a line from a favorite book, about the changing of the seasons, and how summer was a time to slow down, to regroup.
For a moment, as I listened, I felt better. “I’ll wake up in the fall,” I said.
Two weekends ago, a friend and I spent all day Saturday walking across Manhattan in a sleepy-eyed fog. We had no plans and no destination, but on that day, producing footsteps felt, somehow, like an achievement. We stopped for noodles at a cafeteria in Korea Town; squinted into the Park Avenue Tunnel; wandered for an hour through Grand Central Station, riding elevators up and down and staring at its spangled ceiling.
Then we slept under a tree in Central Park, and woke to a wedding happening around us, with a choir and a minister in a robe and a throng of Italian tourists, watching.
We continued our walk, out of the park and along the river, all the way to the Highline and onto the glowing streets of Chelsea.
It was night-time. We’d walked for eleven hours, but strangely, I felt as if I’d had a day of rest. We hadn’t accomplished much, but that was all right.
We were, after all - at the very least - moving.