Every once in a while I get in this child-like mental space where staying up late sounds REALLY exciting. Like, oh my God, the best thing EVER! “What? It’s 10:30 and I don’t have to be anywhere in the morning? And even though I’m bone-tired I don’t HAVE to go to bed? YES!”
Why all the CAPS? I don’t know. Blame it on the tiredness.
I’ve never been a night owl. If I stay up late, my mental capacities go downhill quickly. In college, a last-minute paper turned out better if I got up at 6am to finish it, rather than staying up till 3.
I have really distinct memories of staying up late at as child:
1. When I had the chicken pox. (I’ve been revisiting my chicken pox memories lately because the kids I babysit have been taking turns getting them. They’re not even on my body but goodness do I want to reach out and scratch them.) When I had the chicken pox at around age 7, we’d just gotten our first TV, but we only watched movies on it. But I couldn’t sleep and so I sat in the living room watching mindless late-night stuff with my dad. TV seemed really boring then and it still seems boring now, but there’s some magic in being up late at night. (Or being anywhere at an unusual time. The craziest thing about college? Having odd breaks when you could go out in the world in the middle of the day. It felt so forbidden! As though someone would stop you and say “why aren’t you in school?”)
2. Writing my first “big” paper in high school and I stayed up until (gasp!) 11:30pm. 11:30! I was such a tame, lame teenager. Not a rebellious bone in my body. Well, not that kind of rebellion, at least. At the time it felt like freaking oh-dark-thirty. Now I go to bed at 11:30 most nights.
3. There was also the time (slightly embarassing), maybe in 6th grade, when I woke up in the middle of the night, thought it was morning, got out of bed, got dressed, and went out to the living room. Imagine my parents’ surprise when I emerged. Being the 6th grader that I was, I probably refused to believe them when they said it wasn’t really morning.
I have this passionate fondness for childhood photos. I’m never quite sure why, but I can stare at them for hours. My dad took good photos when I was a kid. I wish he still did. It’s this whole world that I (the me that I am now, as an aware adult) can never really know, not first hand. Both because of the people my parents were then (which everyone experiences) and because the world that they lived in no longer exists – it was a unique atmosphere, that cult. The mythology of my childhood, learned in stories over the dinner table.
Time to go to bed before I try to get any more philosophical.