Monday, March 23, 2009

Whistling in the Dark

It's after midnight. Unfortunately so. I am so tired. But as it often happens when I am just so tired, I fall asleep and then am awakened by something or other (I have four of those something or others, all asleep right now) and then I can't fall back asleep.

All those sleep advice columnists (they do exist right? Yes, if only as someone doing some side writing job for several beauty magazines) suggest that when you can't sleep you get up and do something for awhile, until you think you can go to sleep.

It's a nice idea. And here I am trying it, because the alternatives were either a) lay in bed trying to count sheep, but feel slightly overwhelmed instead, or b) fall asleep. Well, b) was taking it's own sweet time in getting here and a), while nice and all, was getting me nowhere.

The phrase that kept going through my head was "whistling in the dark." And attached to that was someone saying "Oh, that's just Charles Wallace's way of whistling in the dark." That someone would of course be Charles Wallace's sister, Meg. And Meg and Charles were the fabulous creation of Madeleine L'Engle, who passed away a few years ago, and whom I have never met, but am quite fond of.

There's just one thing. I have never been quite sure what whistling in the dark means. Although I am typing it out many times now, in this post.

And so, as that phrase whistling in the dark went through my head, along with the voice of my mother-in-law singing a song with the same phrase in it, I thought it would be a good, productive idea to get up in the middle of the night, turn on the computer, and look up the meaning of whistling in the dark. And so I did.

Do you want to know what it means?

Of course you do.

A definition appeared after googling it (ah. google as a verb) that I liked: To attempt to summon up one's courage or optimism in a difficult situation.

And I thought to myself, well what do you know. I may just be whistling in the dark after all.

There are worse ways to pass one's time.


  1. At 9:43 p.m. Hawaiian time, when I saw your post, my first thought was, "What was Allysha doing awake 25 minutes ago? Why wasn't she in bed?" Your nighttime musings were the perfect answer. Ha! :)
    Sweet dreams.

  2. Man am I ever going to be whistling in the dark from now on out - it's better than crying. I'm not sure how Dad will feel about either of those options however. He's been getting plenty of the one. I haven't tried the whistling thing yet.

  3. I love that! Thanks for inquiring on all our behalf... :)

  4. I have the same insomnia problems. This post reminded of They Might Be Giants. Yep, they sang a song with this title.

  5. Great, now I have that song in my head! And I'll have to go track it down on my itunes playlist and listen to it in it's entirety before I will be able to get it out of my head so I can go to sleep tonight.

    There's only one thing that I know how to do well
    And Ive often been told that you only can do
    What you know how to do well
    And that's be you,
    Be what you're like,
    Be like yourself,
    And so I'm having a wonderful time
    But I'd rather be whistling in the dark
    Whistling in the dark
    Whistling in the dark
    Whistling in the dark
    Whistling in the dark
    Whistling in the dark
    There's only one thing that I like
    And that is whistling in the dark

    Okay, I shouldn't comment when I'm tired. It makes me appear drunk and I don't even drink.