|I might have to punch this spoon.|
"I never get enough sleep. I stay up late at night, 'cause I'm Night Guy. Night Guy wants to stay up late. What about getting up after five hours sleep? 'Oh, that's Morning Guy's problem. That's not my problem. I'm Night Guy. I stay up as late as I want.' So you get up in the morning. You're exhausted, groggy. 'Oooh, I hate that Night Guy!' See, Night Guy always screws Morning Guy. There's nothing Morning Guy can do. The only Morning Guy can do is try and oversleep often enough so that Day Guy loses his job and Night Guy has no money to go out anymore."
|Good old Æthelred|
Are you starting to get the idea that maybe I'm not a morning person? Friends, I thought I would get used to waking up early after more than a decade at my current job. Nope. I'm still dazed, disoriented, and completely exhausted at the beginning of every workday. At that hour, I can fall asleep standing up while resting my forehead on the towel rack in the bathroom. That's happened a couple of times. At 5:45, I might as well be Keith Richards in 1974 at the depth of a narcotics binge. I try to read on the train, and I inevitably doze off after a paragraph which I've attempted to finish three times without success.
Despite all of this, I have no real desire to become a morning person, even if such a conversion were possible. I'm a confirmed night owl by nature, and I'll be damned if I'm going to oppose nature. Left to my own devices, I would actually go to sleep at around 5:00 in the morning, i.e. the same time I'm supposed to be waking up. I find that my most productive, creative hours are between midnight and four. That's when most of the Ed Wood articles are written... only on Friday and Saturday nights, of course. On weeknights, I usually have to take Tylenol PMs to force myself to get some sleep, and even then I'm up until at least eleven or twelve. My self-imposed bedtime is 9:30, but I never make it. That's the time of day when I want to do stuff. Writing during daylight hours feels "off" to me -- not impossible, but not totally comfortable either. Like milk a day past its expiration date. Sure, you can still pour it on your cereal, but it somehow isn't as fresh-tasting as it ought to be. I don't even know where I'm going with that analogy, and a big part of that is because I started writing it when the sun was still out. The point is, I've dealt with insomnia for virtually all my life, but maybe the problem is that I'm just wired the opposite of most people.
For virtually my entire life, I've lived in suburbia, the natural habitat of the morning person. The 'burbs shut down at night. Everyone goes home and watches Dancing with the Stars or whatever. (By the way, did I ever tell you my idea for a cheap knockoff of that show called Prancing with Celebs? Well, I just did.) Even in Chicago where I work, the financial district is pretty dead by six in the afternoon. Recently, however, I made a pilgrimage to Manhattan, and there I found a world which was like the Bizarro version of my normal reality. When I got there in the afternoon, I thought the neighborhood was a shithole. Nothing was happening, and nobody was out except for the bums. The place didn't come to life until the nighttime. That's when the bars, restaurants, and other businesses really started hopping... and this was going on during the middle of the week! That's absolutely unheard of where I live. New Yorkers may find this to be all very commonplace and "boojwah," but it blew my mind. I had no idea people lived like that. It's a funny old world, isn't it?
Any thoughts you might have to share on this topic are welcome in the comments section. Night owls? Morning people? Make yourselves heard! Me, I'm going to drink some warm, just-expired milk.