Ju-bi-laaaa-tion . . .
Last night, I walked into the restaurant at the start of my shift to hear a familiar opening chord. The bright bleet of a synthesized horn signaled and a honey perfect voice intoned, "Clock strikes upon the hour and the sun begins to fade . . ."
I made the rounds of greeting my co-workers and positioned myself on the very last barstool at the back counter to sing along with Miss Whitney's, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)." After it ended, I was treated to the power duet (and also parenthetically titled), "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" from Aretha Franklin and George Michael. At the start of my shift, I usually make myself an iced coffee drink that consists of about 6 shots of espresso, a shot of chocolate syrup and a touch of skim milk. Even though it is midnight when I walk in the door, typically, I will not have been awake more than a couple of hours. The espresso is a quick antidote to my grogginess.
But Aretha and George's duet distracted me from my sleepiness. Next, the tremor of a simple bongo riff poured out of the speakers. The soft shake of a rattle followed and the inevitably singable refrain, "Cee-lia, you're breaking my heart . . ." The trio of lovable hits had me energized before I took the first sip of my caffeine overload beverage.
I stopped Diane, the Sunday night dinner mistress of ceremonies and told her how much I was enjoying her mix. She thanked me and told me the story of the name of the mix;
"My mother, who will be 90 years old soon, is a crazy character. She has insomnia and stays up late into the night. Recently, she e-mailed all of the family during another sleepless night. She sent us the message, 'Get the hell up! There's more room at night!' So, that's what this mix is called."
A few years ago, I started working the graveyard shift at Florent. Often, people will ask me about what it's like to stay up all through the night. But, for me, it is not really that much of a strain. On my nights off, I will usually begin to write around 2 or 3 in the morning. My thoughts become pliable and unhampered. I can breathe.
I am not exclusively a night owl, though. I enjoy to be out in the morning, when people's faces are bathed in the sheen of daylight's natural optimistic glow. I love the afternoon. I love dusk, when the pupils relax into sunset's languid striptease.
It is difficult for me to reconcile my desire to be awake and conscious at all times because I love to sleep as well. Consequently, it has been my great fortune to have a life in which time is immaterial, as it should be. More often than not, I show complete disregard for the constricts of 60 minute hours and 24 hour days. This is not to say I am always late for meetings, etc. On the contrary, I show great respect for other people's perception of scheduled time. However, I do not base my own life on when it is appropriate to do things. I sleep when I tire. I eat when I'm hungry.
But, if given the choice, I will revel in the life that can be lived at night. Diane's mother certainly has it right. There is more room at night. More room to walk the streets. More breathing room. More taxis. More empty tables. More room to dance.
More, more, more . . .