Monday, December 2, 2002


I would submit to anyone who regularly stays up all night to finish work that the hours between seven and nine o'clock in the morning are the most depressing minefields of human existence.

The transit buses start up, traffic jams begin, and for me, a steady hum of chatter begins outside my apartment door as people wait for the elevator. In Edmonton, the sun isn't up yet this close to the Solstice, but that doesn't matter: it's the noise that signals the transition. For me, it is not the beginning of a new day: it's the final nail in the proverbial coffin of yesterday. The prospect of staying up all night can be very exciting: it becomes an expanse of timelessness with every potential. Rush hour from within and without crushes such an idea. The night is gone, and suddenly the one who hasn't slept is just someone in pajamas whose work still isn't finished.

During my six-odd years as a student, I figured out that I'm one of those people who can only work at night. Even if I've got the day off, I'll usually wait until about ten in the evening to get down to things: I don't ask why; rather, I'm simply grateful to have at least that level of self-cognition. There are times when the night moves smoothly into daytime, particularly if I'm enjoying my work, and I won't notice that it's light outside or that the world has gotten noisier. I just keep going.

But there are instances, like this one, when I'm fixated staring out the window, watching people who are purposeful and punctual walk briskly to their destinations eleven storeys below. And I know that I'll be late for everything today, that my hair will stay messy, and that lack of sleep will have turned my attention span into such a narrow tunnel that I won't be able to carry on a decent conversation with anyone.

Worst of all, though, is knowing that this work will still be waiting for me when I get home tonight, and that tomorrow morning, this will all be happening again.

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