One Insomniac’s Good Fortune

Boy, am I lucky!  It was a bad night for sleep last night.  I finally surrendered to the insomnia, made a cup of tea, and started channel surfing.  First came a Christmas episode of The Love Boat, which was charming enough when viewed through the early morning groggy haze.

That was followed by the most touching Christmas story I have seen in a very long time.

Twilight Zone’s December 23, 1960 episode, “The Night of the Meek,” is magical.  Beyond magical.  Art Carney does a magnificent job playing Henry Corwin, a down-and-out drunk who gets fired from a seasonal job as a department store Santa when he arrives late and drunk on Christmas Eve.

Henry agonizes over the poverty in his neighborhood.  His heart is pained by children who are likely to get little to nothing on Christmas.  By neighbors just trying to survive.  There are some great lines and great moments.  My favorite is Henry talking to his boss, Mr. Dundee, after getting fired:  “I can either drink or I can weep and drinking is so much more subtle . . .  Just on one Christmas, I’d like to see the meek inherit the earth.  And that’s why I drink, Mr. Dundee, and that’s why I weep.”

I don’t want to spoil the story for any who would like to see it, so I won’t describe much more, except to say that watching Henry made me feel like the Grinch (my first reaction was Sheesh, this is cheesy) . . .  My heart grew three sizes by the end of the story.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find a free video of this on YouTube.  I found the 1985 remake of it on YouTube (starring Richard Mulligan), which I watched to compare the two.  It’s OK, but it does not possess the magic of the original.  If you have Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Netflix you can likely find it.  Just be sure to get the 1960 original and don’t settle for the remake.  It will be worth the effort.

I will take the liberty of closing with words from the immortal Rod Serling:  “There’s a wondrous magic to Christmas, and there’s a special power reserved for little people.  In short, there’s nothing mightier than the meek.  And a Merry Christmas to each and all.”

Silence

Cue slow exhale.

It is amazing.  I am encountering moments when I don’t even want to turn on the TV.  Oh my, you must be thinking…  What kind of a camper are you, always inside with the TV on?  Well, yes, I suppose it’s true confessions time.  Heck, over two years on the road and I only sat around my first campfire a few weeks ago when some friends had me over to enjoy theirs.  I don’t typically sit outside.  I sit inside, usually at my computer, with the TV on for background noise almost constantly.

Until recently.

It is as if the decluttering and downsizing phase begun back when I sold my house and was preparing an abrupt shift into full-time RV life is catching up to me on the road.  This tenacious little phase had to travel over 26,000 miles to reach me.  I am grateful it made the effort.

It caught me.  Bringing along quiet.  And peace.  Simplicity.  And beauty.

Nothing but the fan blowing, the dog snoring, an occasional stinkbug awkwardly buzzing as it attempts to escape through the ceiling vent fan (they are not very smart).  Outside, a chorus of crickets performs their hit single, Background Music by Your Favorite Bug.  An occasional murmur or bubble of laughter escapes a fellow camper and zings into the night, only to dissipate under the watchful eye of the waning moon.

And diminishing TV.  For a few weeks now, I have grown less and less interested in what is on the boob tube.  The need for its constant company is melting, its voice fading, as I manage to slowly detach.

I hope it sticks.  I hope that, after nearly six decades on this beautiful earth, I am finally maturing to the point that the clutter of noise is not a necessity.  That I can be content enough with my own company and thoughts so that I don’t have to invite TV strangers in to fill space.

I still watch things that I actually want to see, like The Dog Whisperer (hubba-hubba Cesar!), a few comedy shows, and a good movie once in a while.  And, alas, I am remain stuck on TV news.  Poor, pathetic me.  I am addicted to wanting to know what is going on in the world or at least what is going on according to the talking heads on the TV screen.  Although, when I get an ugly earful, especially this particular season of this particular year, I want to plug my ears with my fingers and sing with those crickets… wheeep-wheeep wheeep-wheeep…  Better yet, turn it off.  And let the crickets in.

Quiet, peace, simplicity, and beauty.  Silence.

Honestly, I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad thing.  Let’s agree not to judge one way or another.  Just accept.  It was what it was and it is what it is.  Ooooo, how Zen!  Wheeep.