In the Dead of Night

As I sit to write whatever it is that will follow, I look at the clock. The time is three-thirty and I’ve been up for almost an hour. It’s not as bad as it might seem, though, as I went to bed around nine.

When I got up, I expected I’d go back to bed, so I didn’t make coffee. Before I came in here to what I charitably call my “study,” though, I relented. My cof o’ cuppee mug sits next to the keyboard. The mug is full of French roast goodness that, if the rumors about caffeine are true, will ensure that I won’t go back to sleep. I’m not at all certain about the rectitude of rumors, but I tend to avoid coffee late in the day, just in case.

Before I relented and sat here to write, I rearranged the top shelf of the dishwasher and started the beast on its noise-making mission. I vaguely recall reading that our dishwasher is a ‘quiet’ model; if that memory is correct, the words I read are lies. Now that the machine has begun its wash cycle, I cannot in good conscience open the bedroom door to go back to bed, as the noise would awaken my spouse from her slumbers. So, the deal is sealed. Here I sit, unwilling to direct my mind toward creative thought but equally unwilling to allow my fingers to rest. So, I type drivel.

The current state of my little corner desk offers evidence of my tendency toward clutter and disarray. I don’t like clutter and disarray, but I contribute mightily to it from time to time. Fortunately, the desk is small enough that it simply will not tolerate much disorder; its physical limitation requires that I clear it off on a regular basis. I wonder if the dichotomy between disliking disorder while contributing to it speaks to something deep within my psyche, something that describes how I feel about myself. It’s possible. Perhaps it’s probable. But at this hour, I know of no one well-schooled in psychology who might be willing to take my call to discuss this matter. Actually, I know of no one willing to take my call at this hour to discuss any matter. And, so, I sit and ponder and write nonsense to myself as a reminder for later, when I read what I’ve written, to explore these questions that arose in the dead of night.

Years ago, there were times when my wife and I would both wake up hungry in the middle of the night. In those days, we’d get dressed, get in the car, and find a twenty-four-hour restaurant.  I remember going to a Waffle House in the wee hours, where we’d find an odd assortment of people enjoying that time of night few of us experience outside our own homes. Groups of young people, drunk on booze or excitement, chattering among themselves and enjoying the moment. Police officers on break. Gang-bangers on break. Homeless people with enough money to buy a little coffee and a little time protected from the elements.  People who don’t want to talk to others, but who want to be in the company of other people. All ages, all colors; a mix of the real world.

I think the last time we went out for such a middle-of-the-night-breakfast was a few years before we moved from Dallas. We went to J’s Breakfast & Burgers in Addison, a wonderful little diner/café dive that caters to a diverse crowd. The waitresses were just as diverse as their customers; young, old, black, white, fresh and energetic, and worn and haggard. I remember the same cook was on the late night shift on the few occasions we went there. He was an Hispanic guy, probably in his late fifties, whose skills on the grill were impressive. I watched him in awe as he cracked eggs and flipped bacon and chopped hash browns with the side of a spatula, all while chatting with waitresses and customers and in between pouring ladles full of pancake mix onto the other end of the grill; it was, truly, a remarkable sight.

These days, on those rare occasions when my wife and I are both awake in the wee hours, she has no interest in going out for late-nigh breakfast. I miss those experiences. I would go out myself, but she would worry if she awoke and found me gone, even if I left a note. I wonder if that’s just an excuse I’m giving myself? I honestly don’t know.

Later this morning, if we’re still of a mind to do it, we’re going to wander among the Unitarians again. An erstwhile rabbi is speaking on the topic of “are we religious or are we spiritual?” While the topic does not grab me in the least, we’ve been told the guy is a wonderful speaker and have been assured we will enjoy hearing him talk. I try not to be as judgmental as I once was (well, I think I try, but I’m not sure), so I am willing to discard my doubts and jump in. After all, it’s only an hour or so. Then, afterward, we will do some errands and decide what else will command our time and attention.

Well, I’ve taken up enough of my time and yours with this utterly meaningless chit-chat, so I’ll call it a morning. I am stunned that it’s now 4:17 a.m.; how could I have taken almost forty-five minutes to write this? I’m getting slow in my old age, I suppose.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Just Thinking. Bookmark the permalink.

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.