Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm Nocturnal

I'm nocturnal.  You know, like an owl, a raccoon (don't worry, I promise not to dig through your trash and knock the cans over), or a Nosferatu.  Bram Stoker perhaps described it best, when he said "Contrary to widely held belief, the vampire can move about by day, but it's not his natural time, and his powers are weak".  Instead of feasting on blood, however, my natural nectar is coffee, which I drink with great exuberance.

Despite my best intentions to become a productive, red-blooded, God fearing morning person, my body always rebels.  When I was teaching high school, I had to get up around 6 AM.  No matter how much I tried to go to bed early, my body refused to adjust.  Instead, I just felt sick from lack of sleep all week and then slept on the weekends.  I could go to bed by 10 PM every day and it wouldn't matter.  No sleep for me until 2 AM.  By Friday, my emotional state was very fragile.  Even as a teenager, I never adjusted to the high school time schedule.  I always thought this was deliberate--keep kids sleep deprived and they are less likely to act up and torture the teachers.  With half-sedated teenagers, perhaps the flag holder and the windows would be safe from vandalism.  I had to sleep walk through high school.

Fast forward 17 years, and little has changed.  I still stay up past 2 AM and sleep until I wake up.  Being self employed, this is the single greatest benefit one receives from being one's own boss.  Getting up at the crack of dawn is a special form of torture worse than water boarding.  If I were at Gitmo, they could pour water down my throat all day--no problem.  But put an alarm clock that will molest my sleep at 6 AM, and I will confess to anything.

I think it's genetic.  I have cousins who stay up until 3 AM on a regular basis.  I know this because they are on Facebook and "ready to chat."  My brother is the same way.  My 80 year old grandmother stays up until 2 AM.  Age hasn't slowed her down a bit.

If I had to work for a boss, my schedule would have to be third shift.  I could do the midnight to morning shift no problem.  He wouldn't even have to pay me extra.

 I love everything about the night--it is peaceful, quiet, and there is no traffic.  The telephone doesn't ring past 10 PM, which gives me a break from the incessant ringing of my telephone.  All is well with the world.  It is an introvert's paradise.  My wife and I get groceries at midnight at Wal Mart.  There is no dodging sick people coughing their lungs out, and the aisles are wide open.  Forget about waiting in line--the clerk practically begs you to go through the line to break up the monotony.  It's like Wal Mart is open just for me in my own special parallel universe.

Due to genetics, like a vampire I am condemned to walk the night, apart from the normal business of the world.  Yet I consider all of it a blessing.  The only real punishment is having to make myself available for very early morning appointments.  The court system tends to operate on a "normal" schedule, which means I have to be up early.  Thankfully this isn't every day.  Otherwise, I am free to schedule my client meetings and do my work in the afternoon, during times when I feel mentally fresh and ready to go.

There are some who cannot understand what seems to them to be a strange alternative lifestyle.  Some people have notions of propriety that don't include orthodox ways of being.  You must do this or that or the sky will start falling.  When I was growing up my father used to have a heart attack every time I drank warm pop (aka "soda" for you non-Midwesterners).

"You can't drink warm pop!"

I then took a deep sip.  "I just did".

"You have no business drinking warm pop!"

"What difference does it make?"

"You don't care, just go ahead and drink your warm pop!"

Wasn't I quite the asshole.

If I don't mind my pop warm, then that's my prerogative.  I do all sorts of unusual things that some may deem weird--I don't eat carbs, don't like to wear socks to bed, don't watch the Super Bowl or TV, and think Obama is too conservative.  Whatever the case, I'm not harming anyone.

I believe evolution has selected owls like myself for a unique purpose.  While everyone else is busy sleeping at night, it was our job to keep the campfire going and to watch for predators.  The tribe needn't worry about  a sneak attack while I'm on guard.  Just don't wake me to collect roots and berries at the crack of dawn or I'm going to be pissed.

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