Sunday , 18 March 2018

Eliska Counce: An Ode to the Night Owl

SAMSUNGPeople said I would change. You’ll get older, they said, as they dragged me mostly unconscious from my childhood bed for school. You won’t want to sleep as much. You’ll come to really enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of a world at dawn, I was told, as I was propped up in every early morning church service. You’ll get more done, you’ll center yourself before the start of your day. Don’t worry, they assured me. You’ll become more of a morning person as you age. We all do. It’s just natural.

Lies, I tell you. Damned lies.

It’s never going to happen to me, I fear. This early-to-bed-early-to-rise thing that so many of you embrace so well. How? How do you do it? You work out at 5 a.m. You drive stupid distances daily and leave the house in the dark. You not only schedule 8 a.m. meetings but are there alert and not scowling when they begin. Remarkable! And mysterious.

And so, so not me. Trust me, you don’t want any data my brain outputs before brunch, I assure you. Why does my constitution just get revving around 10 p.m.? It’s inconvenient…and it’s when the parties get started, people! It’s a part of my genetic structure. There was a small window and brief respite when my lifestyle met my biorhythms, and it was called graduate school. Ah, all-nighters. We were made for each other.

Why is 2am such a shocking bedtime in this day and age again, anyway? We’re not an agrarian society anymore. Business happens all over the world all around the clock. We don’t have to work the farm between sunup and sundown in 2013. Someone should address this matter. Why in the name of all that’s holy do I have to start blasting my kids out of bed in the dark because school starts at some ungodly hour?

opinionParents aren’t home to pick up in the middle of the day anymore. Women work too, now. The summer vacation break no longer works as our child rearing and culture have evolved. Why in the world don’t we have a 9-5 school system like work schedules? Why must I go to bed awake and wake up tired? It’s always been true. And now that I’m a parent, I don’t get to sit down until later in the evening. I demand my grown up time!

Alas. Too often this means late hours binge-watching Netflix and over sharing on Facebook. Every night I swear I will be a good girl and get to bed at what the world calls a “decent” hour, but those episodes of Breaking Bad will not watch themselves, people. Curse you, HBO, and your incredible shows that couldn’t be more inappropriate for children than Pennywise the Clown. When you have impressionable children, you must master the skulk to watch such shows. Stealth. And a hair-trigger pause button finger.

Oh, late night. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Laddish TV talk shows. Midnight snacks. Your silence. Your beautiful, beautiful silence. Uninterrupted perusing of trashy magazines. Perhaps a sip of wine. The closest thing to “alone” most mothers know. So sweet. So stolen. And did I mention there are four whole seasons of Sons of Anarchy available online? I digress.

We fight stereotypes, we night owls. It’s not that we’re jerks, or anti-social, or up to no good. It’s just our natural rhythms bounce to a different beat. I’m productive…just most productive around the time everyone else is packing it in for the day. Luckily, I recognize this about myself and can arrange my schedule accordingly. Not everyone is so lucky.

But society demands we rise as a people before dawn. What is my makeup that I am incoherent for a full hour after regaining consciousness? Only coffee separates the world from drawing back a bloody stump. How about a good 11 a.m. start? I am being oppressed! I blame…time-ism? I’ve coined a term! I’m being discriminated against due to my biorhythms! I demand recompense. We are an under-represented community, we night people.

Oh, I kid. But I can’t be alone. I’m not the only recalcitrant night person out there, surely. Here’s to us, night owls. Maybe as the world becomes more digital, and we evolve to being able to establish work hours that allow for family life and we acknowledge the changing nature of work in an ever-expanding virtual office, society in general will catch on to more flexible scheduling. In the meanwhile? More power to you early birds. I didn’t want that old worm, anyway.

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