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Confessions of a night person

Donnie Darko is quite possibly the finest movie ever made. It touches on all the great dilemmas faced by our times: materialism, depression, tragedy, love, nihilism, conformity, and of course time travel. If anyone knows for a fact what this film is really about, then by all means drop me a line. At the moment, the only thing I’m willing to say for certain is that it’s rad.

Chris Baker came over to watch with me last night, riding his bike from his apartment (above a used bookstore on the Ave), a decision he later deemed to be “the worst I’ve ever made.” I’d tend to agree. Right as he left, the sky decided to unleash a torrential downpour that was exactly like stepping into the shower, albeit fully clothed. He thoroughly soaked a very fluffy bath towel attempting to dry himself, and didn’t even succeed.

The evening marked perhaps the tenth or so among the last dozen that I’ve failed to get into bed before 3 am. I don’t have a problem with being pseudo-nocturnal; prefer it, in fact, to the daylight life most people choose to lead. I rather like wandering blearily through the sunshine every morning, then greeting the twilight as the start of my real day. Being in Computer Science helps, because after all, we’re the same people whose 2001 department T-shirt reads “UW CSE: we do more after 2 am than most people do all day.” The problematic part is making my schedule fit into the established schemata of the rest of academia: namely, my 10:30 classes.

As difficult as it is to describe exactly what it feels like waking up at 9:00 after staying up until 3:30 or 4:00 the night before, it’s even harder to describe the cumulative effect of three or four such mornings in a row. It’s physically painful, but not in the same sense as a cut or burn; more like an intense itch you’re powerless to scratch. That’s not right, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind. The deep-seated, psychological need for more sleep is tough to ignore. You’ve undoubtedly experienced what I’m talking about here. I think REM says it best in Day Sleeper: “my bed is pulling me / gravity.”

On the positive side, I do some fairly ridiculous, and therefore funny, things on these mornings. The other day a friend I hadn’t talked to in a while IMed me while I was in the shower, saying “Happy Birthday!” For a minute I was genuinely confused. “Wait, is it my birthday? Maybe I just forgot.” It wasn’t, and I hadn’t. Then, the same morning, I pulled my toothbrush from its caddy, smeared a generous swath of moisturizing lotion on it, and got nearly all the way to my mouth before realizing what I’d done.

I feel that with a little dramatization, my life could read a lot like an instructional film on the hazards of sleep-deprivation. At the end, after my [close friend | grandmother | faculty mentor] forced me to confront my problem, followed by a teary-eyed confession, I’d turn my life around and get that sleep, becoming a productive member of society. Don’t count on that happening any time soon. The future for espresso, however, looks bright.

Posted in Musings.

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