Lismore. Tuesday, 1.40am:
Certain sounds have invaded my life. They have jimmied open the door of my psyche and taken up residence like they own the joint. These sounds are squatters and resistant to eviction.
Take those two beeps that indicate a text message arriving, for instance. Beep beep. It's like having a Roadrunner in my life. All quiet in the canyons of my day-to-day existence when suddenly - beep beep!
When I hear that double shot of noisy notification, my heart skips a beat, my brain automatically snaps to attention and my hand immediately reaches for my phone. Beep beep.
I have no control over this response. It's an action as instinctive as not stepping on dog poo, turning off Tony Abbott or gagging on soy milk.
And then there's the 'ding' sound of an email arriving on my iPad.
I can be reading the latest news on the Sea Shepherd app or buying a book from Amazon (thus hastening the demise of Noah's Ark bookshop in Lismore where I used to buy real books) but when I hear that ding I immediately close the app (the Japanese can eat whale burgers all they like - I have mail!) and open my emails so the cyber saga of what seems to be my life can continue to unfold on screen. (Ding. Has she changed her mind? Ding. Has he done that job I asked him to do? Ding. Did I get the gig?)
Well, it's late, I'm in bed, and my phone has just signalled me. Beep beep.
I'm not sure how late it is but I can't hear the lounge room television blabbing away about carbon tax ending all life as we know it. I turn my head and see that's there's no light sneaking in under the door, so I reckon the rest of the household has gone to bed. It must be pretty late.
Moonlight leaks through the eastern window. Its pale light is tainted by the stained glass and spills across my bed in a ghostly rainbow. If the moon is that high in the east I reckon it must be quite late indeed.
The phone awaits me. It glows blue with impatience, the echoes of its beeps lingering.
My immediate reaction is to jump up and check my message. Hell, it could be important. Urgent even. But if it was really urgent then I'd get an actual phone call, right?
No, I should stay snug and warm in bed. She won't change her mind. Nothing I can do till morning about his job. And the gig is in September…
The message, whatever it's about, will still be there tomorrow. Right now, I'm sleeping - or attempting to. One thing at a time. People talk about the virtues of multi-tasking but I reckon multi-tasking is just the inability to focus.
So I'm rebelling. I want to chuck these invading noises out of my life. I want them to pack their irritating bags and bugger off. I'm sick of living at the mercy of my messages. I am Wile E Coyote and I'm going to roll a boulder onto my annoying but addictive little Roadrunner and smash its predictive brain to silent smithereens. Or maybe I'll tie dynamite to its tail feathers and light the fuse. Or maybe I'll paint a tunnel on the side of the mountain and watch Mr Beep Beep run smack bang bang into the rock face…
The blue glow fades like the last vestiges of sound from the room. Blissfully dark, quiet.
See, I can do without the constant distraction of text messages.
Now this could be important…