The Night Belongs to Us
It’s ten thirty at night and the old man and dog are asleep. Just as the night owl in me wants to spread it’s wings and start flying.
It kind of makes me crazy how early they go to bed around here. I am not a morning person. I don’t even really feel awake until around four PM. I like to vacuum and clean the kitchen and play loud music and sing and dance and do aerobic routines…starting at about ten PM.
This goes back to when I was a kid. I always wanted to be up late at night with my Mom and my insomniac brother, Phil, after everyone else went to bed. Mom would be in the kitchen cleaning, ironing, making lunches, and all those things she did to keep us presentable and happy. Thank you Mom, you were a saint.
Phil would be in the living room drinking the last of the day’s coffee so he could stay awake all night running water in the bathroom and talking to himself in the mirror. The bathroom wall was right next to the head of my bed so I was aware of what was going on on the other side of the wall. No, I did not sleep well as a child.
Before Mom fell into bed and Phil locked himself in the bathroom for the night I would often get up and hang out with them, since I wasn’t sleeping anyways. We would watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. And on really late nights, we would watch Tom Snyder chain smoking and talking to people. Interesting people. Celebrities had to at least be interesting when I was a kid. It was awesome.
Then when I got married, my husband worked swing shift. So did I. We both worked at Sikorsky Aircraft. After work we sometimes partied a little too, we were young, so then again I was not sleeping much and morning wasn’t really something that interested me enough to get out of bed for.
When we moved out west for the old man’s new job at Boeing, he worked swing shift again. So because I’m a good wife and we didn’t have babies to get up for, I structured my schedule around him as much as possible, and that is how I became a permanent night owl. I would literally be cleaning the house and cooking at ten PM, and when I taught aerobics it was the evening classes, although sometimes I subbed the AM classes which was hard but I’m a tough chick and did it anyways. We lived in the woods with no immediate neighbors so I could play loud music while I cleaned and I’d be out in the dark grilling in the middle of the winter with a flash light so I could see the food and bonk the bears over the head if they came out of the woods to steal our burgers off the grill. In many ways, we have not lived a very conventional life.
And now here we are three years into his retirement and he has the nerve to revert back to some sort of MORNING PERSON??? WTH? He goes to bed by ten and gets up at six thirty and grinds coffee, err err err, and throws the dogs food into his metal bowl, clang clang, and I wake up and think profane thoughts and roll over and go back to sleep for another hour or two but not without asking myself first–How did THIS happen?
But I AM a good wife so I’m beginning to adjust for the sake of our marriage, even though I wasn’t cut out for this nor did I sign up for this. Right now it’s only eleven PM and I’m already getting sleepy so I guess I’ll be going to bed soon and not even staying up to watch The Late Show. Johnny and Tom and Mom are all long gone anyways and Phil lives far away now so there’s really no one to hang with at night. Even the dog gets crabby when I wake him up and try to talk to someone at night around here.
There’s a part of me that really really want’s to crank up the tunes and dance and sing and go out into the dark yard and grill something up and shine the light into the woods and look for golden beady eyes out there in the night and listen to the coyotes yapping to one another down at the creek. This early to bed and early to rise shit is pretty alien to me. And, I must say, really really boring. You night owls know what I’m talking about. I hope you have a great evening. Say hello to the ghosts of Johnny and Tom and Mom for me.
The Author…(on the right)