Friday, March 30, 2007

After Midnight

Weekend Assignment #158: What's your favorite time of day and why? It doesn't have to be a specific hour and minute, mind you: "early morning" or "after midnight" or "sunset" works just fine, too. Although if you do have a very specific time, by all means note it.

Extra Credit: What's the longest you've ever stayed awake?

My answer to this will surprise no one. What time of day am I most likely to pop up on your Buddy List? What time of day is coded on my blog entries, give or take a few hours due to Blogger wonkiness? What time is mentioned in the subject header, quoting an Eric Clapton song?

My temporary set-up in the kitchen, after midnight

Yeah. You know the answer. It's not just that I'm a night person. I'm an after midnight person.

Doctor Who series 2 DVDs, and furniture from my office

After midnight, I'm a little tired around the edges, but relaxed and creative and having fun. After midnight, I can watch a favorite Doctor Who or Buffy episode yet again, and nobody will mind. After midnight, the house is quiet, except for the tv if I have it on, and there are no distractions save those I introduce myself. After midnight, there are seldom any IMs, no telephone solicitors, and very few Wikipedia vandals. After midnight, it's just me, and whatever is engaging my imagination at the moment.

And after midnight is when I write. Sometimes I even write fiction after midnight. At the very least, I write these blog entries. Then I make my leisurely was toward bed, usually stopping off first for a bubble bath and some quality time with a good book.


Midnight blue

There are disadvantages, of course. After midnight is not usually a great time for me to do certain kinds of analysis. Debits and credits sometimes make less sense after midnight. I probably commit the same number of typos, but I'm less apt to catch them before I publish.

And, of course, there's that whole "getting up in the morning and going to work" thing.


John painted the wall and the piece of wood around the
air conditioner, and then went to bed around 8:45 PM

Be that as it may, this is my time. John, who painted the office wall tonight, was in bed well before 9 PM. He can get up long before dawn, putter around, go to the gym, come home, clean up, and make his long commute in to work, all by 8 AM. At 8 AM, my alarm hasn't even gone off yet. For me, dawn is a time to be approached only on the way to bed - and only when there's no need to get up before noon the next day. Waking up around 2 PM is even better.

Shortly after we moved to Tucson in 1986, John and I slipped into a schedule that took advantage of his ability to get up early, and my inability to go to bed until long after midnight. We were taking a year off to write, and sharing a Macintosh SE to do it on. John was working on a comic book, Beatles research and other stuff, and I was working on the Route 66 book and a nature book we were calling Critters. My research for the latter involved going out and birdwatching, pretty much every day. While I did that, John had the use of the computer. He'd go to bed around 7 or 8 PM, and then the computer was mine. I'd write all night, and go to bed around dawn - just as John was getting up for the day. I even coined a Sniglet for my increasingly late hours: dawntending. John, moving the other way, was dusktending.

After a few months, though, my sleep schedule got a little out of hand. One day I still wasn't sleepy by dawn. I didn't get to bed until three in the afternoon. I'd probably been up for 24 or 25 hours by then.

Years later, when I got my job with Worldwide Travel, I stayed up all night at my previous job, closing the books on the previous year as best I could. I left around 7 AM. At 8 AM I showed up at Worldwide Travel for an orientation meeting with my new bosses, Mal and Sandy Potter. I didn't work all day, though. I probably went to bed at noon.

And when I finished my part of closing 2005 at my current job, I came in to work at 3 PM Sunday, having been up since 9 AM for church. I left work 2:30 Monday afternoon, and went straight to bed. The 2006 closing was a lot like that, but not quite as extreme.

And now you have your extra credit answer. One of those times is probably the time I stayed awake the longest. But I really didn't keep score in that respect.

Now, before you go telling me I should take better care of myself: those were far from typical days. Yes, I stay up until 2 AM very often, but you will seldom catch me awake at 4 AM or later unless there's a crisis, or a deadline doom, or a chance to sleep in the next day.

So anyway, that's my favorite time, for all those reasons, the time I'm most relaxed and creative and interested and having fun - and, truth be told, playing the rebel and eccentric a little bit.

There is one other time that comes to mind, though. I was reminded of it by John Scalzi's very specific favorite time of 12:34, which he likes for the numeric sequence.

When I was in 8th grade, I had a best friend named Tracy, or possibly Tracey. She lived in Cherry Manor, about half a mile or less from my house on F-M Road in Manlius. We listened to Beatles records together, and fooled around with cheap cameras, and walked into the village to shop at Weber's or the drug store, and even dropped in on my English teacher a couple of times at a nearby apartment complex. We were both due home for dinner at 5:15 or 5:30, something like that, and we worked out that if we left each other's houses at 5:05 PM, we'd be home on time. It got to be a running joke with us, to watch for that time, and sing about it to each other when it came. "It's 5:05...!" we'd sing. I don't think we did a whole song, just that phrase, repeated. But we definitely sang it.

And now it's 2:24, which is another fun mathematical sequence - and I'm going to bed. Good night!

1 comment:

deslily said...

this is no surprise to me! lol.. but I still don't know how you do it!

btw: In you lower post.. you are going to meet Scalazi! How neat! He's really pushing his books.. he'll be at yet another signing in LA in late april.