The number 300,000, for some reason, is in my head.
Nothing to do with the kilometers per second that light travels; nothing to do with the temperature (in Celsius) 17 metres from the centre of a nuclear explosion; nothing to do with the number of Australians that the Royal Blind Society estimate have difficulty reading ordinary print; nothing to do with the width (in kilometers) of Ring E of Saturn; nothing to do with the estimated number of Iraqis killed and buried in mass graves during Saddam Hussein’s reign; nothing to do with the 300,000 Mile Pickup Truck Club; and nothing to do with 100 Andre 3000s.
At the moment, I’m going through a period of not being able to sleep easily. It’s not insomnia, but I have to read a book for a good couple of hours before my eye lids start to close. This, of course, is a vicious circle, as it means I wake up later than I normally would.
Not sleeping well isn’t a new thing. It happens now and again, and eventually, I get back on track. And I have my own version of counting sheep to get me drifting off into my pillow. The most frequent one I use is building a village. I’ve been doing this for about 10 years now. I began with imagining a patch of empty land on the Lincolnshire bank of the River Humber. Then building a few homes all around a central sort-of picnic area. Around the back of the homes is a nice river, like a moat, so that the back of all the houses have a nice place to paddle. I’ve never really got much further than this with the village. I just think about the details of the house. They’d be like small, bungalow-sized aircraft hanger-shaped things that flatten out a bit into a semi-oval at the back, with a nice terrace for breakfasts in the sun.
Recently, though, 300,000 is a number that pops into my head virtually every night as I lie in bed trying to sleep. I’m hoping that writing about it will exorcise the number. It comes into my head so often that whenever it does, it jerks me back up a bit and stops my slow drift to sleep. It’ll come into my head during that delicious half-dreaming period as I drift off. And it’ll be 300,000 anything. 300,000 people, soldiers, dogs, horses, umbrellas… 300,000 anything. And the thought never goes further. It just stops at 300,000 items. It’s frustrating.
So we’ll see, after this totally self-absorbed post, if it has worked. Hopefully I won’t be thinking about 300,000 at all.
Hopefully, I’ll be falling asleep at a reasonable hour, rather than wanting to go back to sleep right now.