There's a teenager deep inside me that still views going to sleep as a defeat, who wants to rock-and-roll all night and a gradually decreasing portion of every day. To combat this cagey party animal, I match his dimming wits with my equally defiant inner geography nerd. The two wage battle on most work nights as I lie in bed attempting to find sleep.
Kerry finds it odd that, rather than tune out with books or whale-song, my approach is to instead force my brain to perform overtime. Fortunately this brain is a great deal like the rest of me; when challenged, there comes a likelihood it will zone out. It's like listening to that womp-womping teacher in a Peanuts cartoon.
Geography is a passion – commence your own womp-womping now, if need be – and on a typical night, this is how things go down. OK brain, I say – typically not out loud – tonight we're going to name ten U.S. cities that start with each letter of the alphabet. And because you were such a smartass about it the last time we did this, an added rule: only one per state. Go.
Anchorage. Astoria. Austin. Albuquerque. Anaheim. Ann Arbor. Akron. Albany. Augusta. Annapolis. Easy peasy, Albany-zy.
Bellingham. Boise. Billings. Bismarck. Berkeley. Baton Rouge. Boulder. Biloxi. Brainerd. Birmingham.
Carson City… Cheyenne… Zzzzzzz… *snork*
… Des Moines… Zzzzzzzzzzzzz…
The next night: World cities. But nothing in Canada, the United States or Europe, big guy. Go.
Adelaide. Auckland. Agra. Amman. Algiers. Abidjan. Ankara. Acapulco. Aomori…
Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. The lights go down in the city.