image from carrolscorner
Its late some time on Friday night/Saturday morning and I’m not out guzzling beers with friends (save that for Saturday). My man has returned home after a long hard day’s work and after consuming sustenance has promptly collapsed into a deep sleep. “You couldn’t possibly understand this kind of tiredness” he says to me, and he’s right because the work I do is free lance which means I make my own hours most of the time. Thank god!
There used to be a time when both of us were vampires…our eyes unaccustomed to the sunlight, our body clocks ticking into the wee hours of the morning…getting much work done till four am, possibly watching early morning television before dissolving into slumber…and waking up just in time for a late lunch. Naturally, every other member of the working world, including our families, found this kind of behavior disgusting and irresponsible. “Its just not done” came the refrain…and “How will you hold a real job?” came another…and while what they were saying was not without a grain of truth it neglects the fact that there are some people for whom night time is the most creative and gorgeous time to be alive and doing things.
image from cinemastrikesback
A popular misconception is that people who stay up late are only doing so to party or pursue other leisure activities. Most day-time people get their work done in the first part of the day and when work is over, immediately flick a mental switch that means they are chilling till bedtime. On the contrary, while I’ve had many a night filled with wine and revelry…there have been tons of times since early on in highschool where I have stayed up most of the night completing assignments, working on visual art or generating new ideas for future projects. At a certain time past the witching hour of midnight…unexpectedly the mind begins to sparkle and a sudden clarity lands upon whatever it is I am doing. It often seems worth it to stay awake, even when I have an early start, just to catch hold of those few fleeting moments when life and whatever I’m focusing on at the moment- makes most sense. Why is this? I couldn’t tell you. Perhaps it is because when most of the world is asleep there are less distractions. Whenever I have been awake and walking outside at nocturnal hours the light the yellow street lamps cast on the tar and the shadows they create through the trees always makes me feel full of jazz and energy to just “do” something new.
photo by viveksawant
New characters come to mind, old songs, and words I have to capture and write down before they flutter away. I first got to know the tired husband sleeping next to me on one such a night when, while our friends were ready to pay the check and drive home, we wandered off chatting endlessly, walking on the naked streets of the early morning, searching for good breakfast menus and becoming ever more animated as the hours ticked on. It was twelve noon the next day when sleep suddenly hit us like a thunderbolt of vivid daylight. And since that time we’ve continued to do our best bouts of brainstorming on those rare allnighters that come our way. Unfortunately for him, he’s got a nine to five job which actually stretches to about seven, so his nocturnal tendencies have come to a sudden and unceremonious halt. I’m trying to whack the night owl out of my head but so far I’m still straining to be up as late as I can without ruining the next day. I think for most people with normal jobs in Bombay, a full night’s sleep is a rare luxury. Ironically, I’m one of the lucky few who could sleep the night through but doesn’t want to. Here are some Night People quotes from a website dedicated to our kind.
Common Misconceptions about Night People:
No way. We aren’t trying to get to sleep.
(I’m going to have to disagree there. I’m a night person who regularly tries to get to sleep and has difficulty. But I enjoy the struggle.)
Only when we’re not allowed to follow our natural schedule.
(how true how true. The worst thing is when there have been times I’ve been living with morning people who get annoyed with you if you follow your own schedule and annoyed that you aren’t functioning properly if you try to follow theirs)
“We have a medical problem.”
We’re as healthy as most, and more than some. For instance, you won’t find us getting skin cancer from too much sunbathing.
(ahem. well. Its not a medical problem but it can lead to one if you don’t get ANY sunlight. You need that vitamin D to keep your skin looking well and also lack of sunlight can disrupt melatonin levels causing mood fluctuations. So we night creatures have to be careful to emerge from our coffins once in a while. At one point my skin was so pale that people started regularly asking me if I was ill. I had to say “nope…that’s me just being…erm…normal”)
Who’s calling who wierd?
(ahem. what’s wrong with being weird?)
The Bozo Boss Misconception: “We’re lazy, dishonest, and trying to fool everyone because we want credit for working at night but we don’t actually do it.”
This is an evil misconception. It doesn’t just show a lack of respect for our natural body rhythms, it says we’re liars, frauds… Employers always seem to feel this way, even when we’re doing the kind of work that can be measured somehow. All I can say to these people is: Have you ever observed a Night Person at work during his or her peak time? After you’ve sat up with one of us and seen how productive we are, say that again.
(completely. You’d have to be a night person to really get how annoying it is to be written off as a “LOAFER”. as an evil aunty I once knew used to say…”what u doing? Loafing?” My man finished writing his entire phd in a matter of just a few months by working his ass off at wee hours of the morning. I saw it. I bear testament to the powers of the 4:00 am workaholic.)
“We think we’re vampires or have some other kind of odd self image.”
Do you think you’re the sun god Amon-Ra just because you’re a Day Person?
“We’re criminals who use the excuse of staying up late to cover our crimes.”
Sure, and all the people who are up in the daytime are law-abiding citizens. Crimes are ONLY committed at night.
(thas right. I commit crimes round the clock. no fair.)
“We’re hooked on caffeine.”
It doesn’t take coffee and coke to keep US up!
“The only reason we stay up late is to go to bars, cavort, and party.”
Sure, we like it as much as the next guy, but don’t blame us just because we’re always the last to leave!
“We’re delinquents and degenerates.”
How do you know? Do you follow delinquents and degenerates around at night? If you do, what’s YOUR problem?
(again with the mud slinging. Leave the weirdos, vampires and degenerates out of this. They’re allowed to be night people too. And never you mind who I follow around all night. The restraining order said to keep 200 yards away but they never said anything about video surveillance. Freaking biggot!)
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
— Edgar Allan Poe
“Night time is really the best time to work. All the ideas are there to be yours because everyone else is asleep.”
— Catherine O’Hara
“I’m kinda tired. I was up all night trying to round off infinity. Then I got bored and went out and painted passing lines on curved roads.”
— Stephen Wright
“Larks see owls as lazy; owls see larks as party poopers.”
— Richard Coleman, Wide Awake at 3 am
“What hath night to do with sleep?”
— John Milton
“I read, much of the night, and go south in winter.”
— T.S. Eliot
“12:35 P.M. — The phone rings. I am not amused. This is not my favorite way to wake up.”
— Fran Lebowitz
“The night draws stars and women in a better light.”
— George Gordon, Lord Byron
“I do believe in reincarnation, but I do not believe there is life before noon.”
— Florence King
Anyway it is time to sleep and I have Promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep.
image from haphazard