Freshman year of college, I slept through my roommate’s allegedly violent barbeque potato chip-induced bout of food poisoning^. Sophomore year, when we slept head-to-head in an L-shaped bed configuration, I slept through her allegedly violent stomach virus. I found out later that aside from once rolling over on my left side (away from both her and the likely inhuman sounds she was making in the bathroom), I was more or less motionless.
Proving myself more useful in the daylight, I did bring her toast.
And while I’d love for the point of all this to be a catalog of K’s college vomit, what I’m really trying to get at is that I have a reputation for being a sound sleeper*. Thunderstorm? Didn’t notice. Downstairs neighbors trying to kill each other? Can’t be disturbed. Insomniac travel companion? A perfect match. Our patterns don’t interfere at all.
So, when I’m up and writing at 1 am, after getting into bed at 9:45, positive I’m about to nod off, I can’t help but be thrown. Luckily for me, it’s summer vacation, so this whole “missing bedtime” issue is really a non-issue. Except that it messes with my sense of order. Even though I’m an unemployed person, I like to be a relatively scheduled unemployed person.
But aside from my worries about time organization or something being off in my system forcing me awake, I have a more pressing late hour concern: What does one do at 1 am?
I mean, yes, I’ve been up and out and social at this time of night/morning, but I’m by self-definition not a night owl. Being up (and out) late makes me feel like a rule-breaker, someone who’s going to be exposed at any moment as the late-night poser she is. The hours after 11 pm are not my turf, and I feel completely out of place inhabiting them, even in my own home. I understand that I am an adult, one that lives alone and who technically has no obligations to fulfill tomorrow, meaning that right now, I can do whatever the heck I want. But I’m still pretty sure I’m not supposed to.
Let me be more specific. Here’s a list of qualms:
- If I choose to watch television, what should I watch? Should I catch up on what’s saved on my TiVo, or turn to Netflix? Is House Hunters on right now? I can’t feel guilty about watching Say Yes to the Dress if I’m doing it under late night duress, right? Even if I enjoy it. Should I stream something on my laptop here in bed? What if I fall asleep with the laptop in bed and set myself up for both battery drainage and a morning “forgot the laptop was in my bed”-type mishap?
- Say I feel like doing what I’m doing now and decide to post on my blog. Is it more or less navel-gazey to post about my one night of insomnia and its ensuing existential crises? What about my friends who actually suffer from insomnia? Am I being insensitive? What if their insomnia makes them unable to parse/appreciate/endure my sense of humor?
- I could always play on Facebook. But what if I post on someone’s wall or respond to something at this hour and people think that I, like, stay up this late? What if they then expect me to do things until all hours of the night? What if my carelessness with social media forces me into a social life that involves evening engagements?
- If I’m up much longer, I might have to have a snack. And I already brushed my teeth. I don’t want to brush them again. Also, what meal would that be? What kind of snack is a good kind of snack for 1 am? Are ice pops okay? Would a snack now interfere with breakfast? I don’t usually eat at this hour, so what would that do to the rest of Wednesday?
- Maybe I should turn on the lights and read more Infinite Jest. But the next section coming up is kind of long. That’s a big commitment of time and reading stamina for this hour. And what if it’s important to the book (which is well worth the time and effort to read) and my late-night attempt screws up my enjoyment of it all? What if I miss something insightful, or beautiful, or important?
Or maybe, just maybe, I should relax about the sleeping thing for a bit. It is summer, after all. And don’t they always say some nonsense in those trend pieces about how worrying about not sleeping stops you from getting the sleep you need?
Well, whatever. I could really go for an ice pop right about now.
^I will spare us all the details as reported to me, but let’s just say it was VI-OH-LENT.
*I also have a theory that K was a pretty quiet puker. I have no evidence to back up this claim.