I finally fall asleep around 7 am. That’s been the pattern for the last few days and last night/this morning holds true to it. Haven’t gotten much actual rest in weeks, so all of my decisions always feel suspect to me, especially when I give up just a little bit of control. I turn off the lights and flip on the TV, clicking to some random channel and hitting the mute button.
Whatever the channel is, there’s Laura Leighton on the TV, formerly of Melrose Place. And last year’s sequel/rehash. She’s starring in some TV movie here, looking very concerned about whatever the script is telling her is important, and yet, she looks radiant. It’s a nice last image before I lay down on the hard surface I’ve been calling my bed for far too long and slowly make my way into dreamless sleep.
Petty little things wake me constantly over the next several hours. Again there’s no real rest. A half an hour later, forty five minutes later, an hour later, just like that I keep getting called back to the waking world rather rudely. Sometimes it’s a dog barking, sometimes it’s a phone call or a knock on the door, sometimes it’s someone in the other room screaming that they can’t find their medicine. Where is it? Right there in front of them. No apology. Exchanged vulgarities. Again and again. And again I try to retreat back into sleep.
On the TV again, there’s Laura Leighton. It’s hours and hours now since I first turned on the TV and there she is in a TV movie. Still. A different one this time. This is possibly two or three TV movies after I’ve turned on the television, isn’t it? Have I discovered the all Laura Leighton channel? I’m tired so that’s funny to me right now. But then I stare at the screen a little longer. Her latest male co-star is a B-level television actor, the kind of guy who probably once had a show on Sci Fi channel that got canceled, back when it was Sci Fi channel, before it got canceled/warped into whatever SyFy is supposed to be.
If they don’t surrender themselves back into daytime soap operas, I guess TV movies are where actors go in the wake of the 90s (though I know that Laura Leighton has a small role in Pretty Little Liars, which isn’t that different from TV movie quality, except that it’s possibly one of the best shows on TV right now). A commercial for another television movie, this one starring Shannen Doherty as someone trying to grow the world’s largest pumpkin or something, confirms this for me. How sad. And, of course, Laura Leighton’s movie looks terrible. Lifetime channel or Hallmark channel or ABC Family quality. Or worse, even.
And yet, Laura’s radiant. She glows in a way that only someone who’s trapped and going through the motions can. The guy who plays Freddie Rumsen on Mad Men appears to be the villain here. He’s barking orders to some other guy, probably one of the only 10 or so native American actors working Hollywood these days. One second Laura’s ducking down behind something with a new male co-star, then they’re running, then they’re in a diner somewhere with a bunch of older ladies. Is that Ann-Margaret? I can’t tell what’s going on, but I’m positive it doesn’t matter.
I try to get some sleep. It won’t last, but I’ve got to keep trying. Laura Leighton’s acting career has told me that, if nothing else. No matter how bleak it is, you gotta keep going. Also, there’s a paraphrasing of Churchill in there somewhere too. It doesn’t matter now. I unmute and then mute the TV again. As my head hits the pillow again, I realize that Laura Leighton’s hair color has gotten darker and darker as it’s gotten brighter outside my window. That seems incredibly significant to me for a moment and then it doesn’t.