blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Not just any kind of insomnia

I have the small-business-owner variety.

The kind that starts with the 2:30 am jangle of the telephone and an adrenaline surge.

"This is State Alarm calling. We have a Zone 4 motion signal and the police have been dispatched."

"For which store?" (They ALWAYS leave out that critical information)

"4441 Mayfield Road"

"Oh, South Euclid. Cancel the police. It's just the donut delivery people who can't figure out how to work the alarm sometimes."

"OK, thank you, we'll do that."


You would think at this point that I would be able to just roll over and go back to sleep. The donut delivery person's incompetency is not interesting enough to lose any sleep over, right? That's how it would be for most people. But not for me. I'm a small business owner. For a few minutes, I manage to think about things related to my house and family... our impending kitchen renovation, the kids needing showers in the morning, tomorrow's soccer game, but then, I start to think about business things. Phoenix Coffee stuff. The East 9th Street store we're about to start building. South Euclid and our group management experiment. Lee Road and our group management experiment, a recent customer complaint, possible solutions, phone calls I need to make to solve it, oh yeah, the manager's meeting tomorrow, drink cards that need to be riveted, an upcoming coffee tasting... I sit up. My brain thinks I'm sitting at my desk at work, ready to call people, to solve problems, to get things done. But I'm sitting in bed, in the dark, in my PJs at 3 am.

Problems don't get solved at this hour. They just get listed and half-solved, only enough so I can keep worrying. I know this person who takes up residence in my brain at night, after the phone calls. She acts like the eight-year-old who takes a bite out of every cookie on the tray only to decide she doesn't like any of them. Her antics go un-noticed as long as all the adults in the room keep jabbering, unconscious and mechanical.

Her presence is so subtle, yet annoying that she drives me to get up, out of bed, down to the basket of clean laundry in the living room. I start folding. Maybe the physical activity will sap her psychological momentum. Neatish stacks of t-shirts, socks and underwear, sorted by family member, grow on the table as the basket empties. The thoughts still churn, I can tell that if I went back to bed, she would still be there, driving my thoughts mechanically from one issue to another.

Aaah, then I spy the computer. I could check email, but that will inevitably lead to more Phoenix-related thoughts. The blog post. That always shuts her up. As I finish this, I can feel her energy fading and my eyelids droop.