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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

I love the nighttime.

It’s Sunday night, and I want the weekend to stay, but sometimes I wake up and I just want it to be evening. Not that I want the day to go by… just that I love the feeling of sitting here when it’s done.

Think: cat. door. Wrong side every time.

But I do love the nighttime.

I like that everything stops at night. The construction, the church bells. Most of the traffic. People go away and lights come on and it’s peaceful.

There is nothing in the “have to do” column at night, because all the running around and thinking of what to do is over.

You can sit on the couch for six hours with a book or a solitaire game or a cocktail and nobody thinks you’re being unproductive, because it’s night.

Then in the morning the sun will blare at me and the church will scream at me and things will have to happen. But not now.

The internet told me that you’re more creative at night. Ok, then let’s have it…. I’m waiting… is the muse striking? No? Then let’s keep talking about nighttime.

Apparently I am more productive at night, which the internet also tells me, but which also has the benefit of being true. There is something about doing stuff when you don’t have to, when there are no reasons or deadlines, when you don’t have to sit in a certain place like at a desk so you can prove you’re “working.”

I don’t know why I have to do that during the day, either, since I work at home and for myself, so who is the boss of me? Me. I’m a terrible boss.

I make myself go to my desk and be productive when I could curl up on the couch and do the same thing. It’s just that I have this desk and all the Desk Things you’re supposed to have, like a lift for your monitor so you can be ergonomically correct and not hunch over your laptop on your literal lap.

Plus my treadmill is there so I have to do that.

Plus Ralph is there because he has a LOT of Desk Things and doesn’t do the whole scrunch on the couch and type lopsided thing, and I like to work with him.

But at night… then I get to do anything. Because I’m not working, I’m just being.

And maybe working. I like working at night because I am indeed more creative, and more likely to want to be creative.

Nighttime is forgiving. It smooths out your wrinkles and doesn’t care if you wear your shredded Brigantine sweatshirt.

The internet tells me that night owls have poorer attention and slower reaction times during the day. DING!

That is the whole point of being a night owl. Day birds have poorer attention and slower reaction times at night, so why isn’t anyone telling them to get up later?

You know what? It doesn’t matter what the internet says. It changes nothing. I like the evening hours. I like sitting outside on a nice night with my string lights on and listening to crickets. Listening to the sprinklers whoosh on. Listening to the thunk of a moth crashing into my screen. Knowing there is no place to go, nothing that has to get done.

Nighttime is good for meandering, which makes it good for writing. I can think all day about a story or a topic and my brain is like… nope. Day things.

But then I sit down at night and the sun is setting and all the relaxing feelings flood in and my brain opens up and… well, this is what you get. For better or worse.

It doesn’t really matter how early I go to bed. I can go to bed at 7pm and still not want to get up in the morning.

It’s not like I have to catch a bus or anything, but some things are ingrained in your skull. Too many years of screeching alarm clocks have conditioned me to want no part of mornings.

Oh my god, alarm clocks. I despise them. I get a total cringe whenever I think about those squawking electronic beeping things that no matter how low you put it will always whang you out of bed within two milliseconds.

If you sleep with people who hit snooze a hundred times, good luck with that.

It’s been a long time since I had an alarm clock, but I still get fingernails on chalkboard levels of chills when I think about them.

First the braaaaaap braaaaaap then the bzhhheepp bzhhheepp, neither of which is any better. I tried a light-based clock once. The idea was that you’d set it for 6, say, and then a few minutes before 6 it would start lighting up and it would get brighter and brighter until it was at full brightness. It was supposed to wake you up naturally. It never did. It really never woke me up at all.

The sun will wake me up, if the blinds are open. I much prefer that method, but since we’re not farmers anymore you really can’t count on it.

After the light alarm, I had a phone so I tried doing some of the phone sounds. I don’t know who invented these sounds but they are absolutely no better than shrieking alarms. You’ve got the spaceship, and the dings and the woofs and the warbles and chirps and tootles. They are all electronically disturbing.

So I tried music, but it turns out that even Neil Diamond is annoying at 6 am. I guess if I had to pick between him and a squealing chime, I’d pick Sweet Caroline, but still.

If I have to get up with an alarm I use my watch now. It’s actually the best way I’ve ever had to wake up. It makes no sound at all, it just taps you on the wrist. In the grand scheme of things it’s the least likely to make me end up clinging upside down to the ceiling like a cartoon cat.

But it also requires me to be wearing my watch, and I find it annoying to sleep with so I take it off then go on faith that I will wake up before I need to so I can sneak it back on for my last two or three hours of sleep.

Yeah, so mornings are not for me.

Here is how I like waking up: eventually. Preferably to the smell of coffee and bacon. I don’t like coffee but I love how it smells when it’s brewing.

If I’m not a morning person, I am even less of an afternoon person. At least the morning has the advantage of feeling like that time of day you need to get stuff done. Mornings enjoy the new-and-shiny effect, where you put on your best hat and say ok, morning, let’s do this!

But afternoons are just a deadman’s zone getting in the way of evening. It’s like having to do Thursday before you can get to Friday. So unnecessary.

Sometimes, I serve dinner at 5 just so I can have a longer evening. I’m also old, so I eat dinner at 5, but dinner is sort of the line you cross from your day into your evening. So once that’s over with, I can get to the nighttime part.

Granted, the church does not stop bellowing the time a consistent three minutes late until 9pm, but I take what I can get.

Once the day is over and nighttime settles in, it’s like all the permission is granted. The rules and restrictions get lifted. You want to spend three hours playing a word game? Go ahead. You feel like making a cocktail? Perfect.

Day is for doing and night is for being.

Which of course makes me want to stay awake as long as possible and enjoy it, which is not very good for getting up in the morning.

When do you put your Christmas lights on? Night. When do you kiss by the light of the moon? Night. Really, who has ever sung songs about a romantic kiss under the blazing sun? Doesn’t happen.

When do you turn the music up for a party? Not at 6am, I can tell you that.

Eddie Rabbit loves a rainy night and Corey Hart wears his sunglasses at night. People drive all night, get night fever, variously get lonely, cry, or get crazy in the night.

I’ll tell you what. I love a good day sunshine, but I do thank the Lord for the nighttime.

Other thing the night is great for? Stopping what your doing whenever you feel like it, and sleeping.


Photo: actual sunset at Harlinsdale Farm.