The jazzy ballad of Sleepless Brave

Summertime, the world-famous song by George Gershwin was originally the opening aria of the opera Porgy and Bess, and is a jazz-inspired lullaby. Summer time is also (and you have to love the irony) the period of the year when I get the less sleep.

Summer in Rio, as far as I can remember, has always been very hot, but global warming and disorderly urban growth (did someone say rampant real estate growth?) are apparently doing their job and every summer temperature records are broken. Forget the expression “Rio 40 degrees” (Celsius), usually used to express the party side of the cool city. What we experience now is “Rio 50 degrees” and there is, literally, nothing cool about it.

I use psychology and the air-conditioning and try to stay positive. It works, sometimes. Not during the night, though. Instead of “the livin´ is easy”, my summer time is an ode to insomnia. And who can be more sensitive and vulnerable than a sleepless human being? Don´t forget to take my sleep deficit into account in the next parapgraph, will you? I wasn’t exactly myself, but my semi-zombie version.

After another night of hellish heat and failed attempts to sleep, early morning found me in a semi-asleep state which, along with a sudden gentle breeze suddenly running through the room, was the best I could hope for at the moment. And that’s where it started. The noise. That tremendous noise of tiles being cut, which had been tormenting me all week at alternate times of the day. That unbearable noise had decided to spoil my morning of almost falling asleep as well.

I got up and went straight to the window overlooking the building next door, where the noise was coming from. Well, straight is a way of saying it, because to reach that window, I have to climb a little bench. From there, I started waving my arms to get the attention of the man who was cutting the tiles with his noisy machine: “Sir! Oh, sir!” It took a while for him to realize where the voice was coming from. “Up here, in the window! “Up here!”

When he finally looked my way, I used my best polite-yet-firm tone and asked him to continue elsewhere, if possible. And to my enormous surprise, he shook his head. I yelled, “Thank you so much” and the deafening noise stopped.

Maybe you’re asking yourself now, “yeah, so what?” Maybe that’s the way you solve all your problems: directly, without further thinking. Maybe my solitary revolt against acoustic abuse seems trivial to you, but to me it was a big deal. I tend to be the type that thinks, reflects (too much), and never goes into, shall we say, extreme actions. Until now, at least.

Maybe it is the insomnia speaking, or maybe it is because I’ve run out of musings, but in this particular situation I’m glad I acted on the spur of the moment, jazz style. I felt really brave and able to take care of myself. No drama, no overthinking.

I doubt this is a concept applicable to all areas of life, and eventually summer time will be gone and I’ll go back to sleep well, but until then it is good to know that I can still surprise myself.

… and the livin´ is easy…

Be seeing you!

G.F.

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