The Midnight Hour - The Commitments (mp3)
For a brief while I felt a little guilty about my late nights of self-enforced solitude in the confines of my own home.
"Nothing good happens after midnight," one friend is fond of saying. She mostly means her child(ren). She also kinda sorta means adults, too. But she doesn't say it out loud because she doesn't want to sound as judgmental about it as she actually is.
Another friend puts it differently: "When I'm up alone after 11 p.m., I find myself doing a lot of things that aren't ultimately all that healthy."
For the record, as I type these very words, it's 12:27 a.m. I am not at present touching myself, nor have I at any point in the current 24-hour cycle. I am not looking at inappropriate pictures or reading inappropriate things. I am not communicating with anyone the former Elin Woods would find cause to beat in my windshield with a golf club, nor am I engaged in any form of high-stakes illegal betting. I'm neither manufacturing nor participating in any sort or kind of illegal substances.
It's 12:31 a.m., and I'm doing nothing all that terribly wrong.
That's not always the case, mind you. No sense in getting into which particular options might, on occasion, land on my late-night radar screen, you cheeky monkeys you. I just ain't no cherub, is what I'm sayin'.
At times, I have been incredibly conflicted about all this. About my almost chemical dependence on nocturnal independence. About the fact that, no matter how late my wife stays up to be by my side and experience late-night life with me, I must stay up another one or two hours later.
It has helped to learn I'm not alone. There's millions of us out there. I recently had the opportunity to hear my boss express, almost word for word, the very explanation I myself have for this need. He, too, it would seem, suffers from this affliction, this addiction, this need to have solitude prior to slumber.
And, in truth, I write this not merely because I'm awake at 1 a.m., but because circumstances around people I know have just yesterday served to remind me that we all carry burdens and mysteries that even our best friends can rarely fathom unless it's written to them in big 50-font print. That whole "quiet desperation" thing is just flat-out universal, my friends, and if you don't know you're quietly desperate, just hang out a little longer, and it'll come to you.
For me, I need the right to put myself to sleep. To sing my own lullaby. To watch or listen to or play whatever I need to get my mind calmed down. And I just can't seem to do any of that very well with other people around. (Unless I'm really good 'n' drunk. Which is hardly a kind of practice I want to make too terribly regular. Certainly not more regular than it already is, thankee very much.)
I love -- no, I need -- the Midnight Hour. Sometimes it comes at midnight, but not always. The Midnight Hour isn't a moment on the clock. It's a tipping point in the caverns of your being that tells you to call it a night, that in fact begs and ultimately demands you to do so.
Just you and I.
Written under the precise level of intoxication required to think a post using the words "I" and "me" almost 500 times would somehow express something larger than merely an unhealthy obsession with the author's own sense of self-awesomeness.