Sep 152009

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Thelonious Monk

After a long stretch of nocturnality (or “eveningness,” as it’s apparently officially been dubbed), which is my preferred schedule, I have been forced by factors beyond my control to adopt a somewhat more “morningness” guise. This has led me to several conclusions regarding this period commonly referred to as “day,” which differentiates itself from the night1 via a disquieting barrage of photons and mid-sized sport utility-type vehicles driven by a human variant known as “women,” which do not generally appear at night in any respectable format:

1)The drinking of alcoholic beverages, by and large, is not undertaken during the daylight hours, and those who do drink while the sun is up are commonly regarded as dissolute. This misconception is rooted in the pervasive day person disregard for the habits, schedule and demeanor of the night person. To wit: a night person may drink a martini at 7 PM without raising a single eyebrow hair in civilized environs, even though, expressed in day person terms, this night person is downing two good slugs of Her Majesty’s finest at 9 AM.2 Therefore, any person seen imbibing during the day should be regarded as a harmless night person hewing, in his own way, to the societal contract of not drinking until the latter part of one’s wakefulness cycle – unless, of course, the imbiber is seen engaging in an activity foreign to night people, such as jogging.

2) There is this idea – or, I suppose, more of a concept and less an idea – of a meal taken during the early morning hours, which is, for those of you not following along, immediately after a morning person awakes (or at least immediately after their jog). I am led to believe that they call this “breakfast,” and there is a certain type of evangelical morning person who will swear up and down, possibly while jogging, that this affront to good sense, good breeding and the healthy workings of the gastrointestinal system constitutes “the most important meal of the day.” This is clearly untrue, because as we have previously established, morning people do not drink during the day, and as any night person and most of our significant nutritionists know, any meal not accompanied by liquor can hardly be considered “important,” no matter when it takes place. People who ease their way into the day3, as opposed to people who brutally seize the day by its coronae and jog-and-egg-white-no-butter-no-oil-omelet it into cowed submission4, are not hungry upon arising. They earn their hunger through several hours of anomie and cocktails. As my mother says, “Breakfast is for peasants” – a great mass of bacon-infused fuel for somebody who has to do…something…to several acres of sorghum for the seventeen hours until the cows come home.

3) As a corollary, I call bullshit on many notable day person foodstuffs. Hash browns? Bullshit. French toast? Bullshit. Oatmeal? Bullshit. Link sausages? Bullshit. Grapefruit? My friend, you are not believing we are having so much bullshit here. By way of contrast, night person foodstuffs include sushi, red meat that bleeds, anything deep-fried, any raw animal product, and Scotch.

4) Little of value has ever been produced during the day. This is not just creative-type-personality-thing chauvinism. It goes without saying, of course, that all great music, art, writing and cooking is a product of the wee-est and smallest of the hours, but I would wager that most of your great strides forward in science and mathematics were made at an hour that would break any mother’s heart. Things produced during the daylight hours are like 18-year-olds: functional in all the fundamentally important ways, yet obviously lacking a certain nous savons quoi.

5) Musical genres favored by night people (jazz, trip-hop, quiet storm, burbly electronica) all sound bizarre in the harsh light of the day. On the other hand, bubblegum and mariachi sound downright sinister at 3 AM. So who’s actually creepy?

6) Day people are remarkably sanctimonious regarding their status as such. During the day, empowered by their clear and present majority, they respond to night people with haughtiness and airs (“You woke up when?”). During the night, barricaded behind doors and porch lights and home security systems, they respond to night people by calling the police.

7) The police are not night people, but rather day people whose enforced eveningness has left them with a perpetual bad attitude. One would think this would give them some sympathy for the aimlessly wandering night person, but unfortunately for us, society has elected to instead give them high-beams and nightsticks.

So perhaps now you, the day person, can begin to understand the travails of the night person. He is a stranger in your temporal land, and should you see him stumbling about, blinded by the sunlight and the glint off your sweat-besotted abs5, try to treat him with the kindness and respect you would afford to any well-meaning foreigner. Give him some berth. Cross to the other side of the street when you see him. Never, under any circumstances, attempt to engage him in trivial conversation. Get a treadmill. And maybe, should you be possessed of a charitable nature, leave a bottle of gin by the curb before you retire for the night. Beefeater, please.

  1. “Night”, for purposes of “eveningness” people, is not properly defined as the period of time the sun is below the horizon, but rather as the period of time when “morningness” people are reliably Not Present; that is, between 12 AM and 5 AM, after which they all sprout like fungi and begin jogging. (Of course, the fact that “night” lasts only five hours illustrates a fundamental injustice in the realm of human chronobiology: while night people are more than content to stay inside, preferably behind at least two locked doors, during the daylight hours when day people reign supreme, day people also lay claim to a significant portion of nighttime hours – even though night is already shorter than day in most habitable places. These hours, which by all rights should belong to the already put-upon and misunderstood night people, are instead monopolized by day people for day people sorts of activities, such as primetime television, drinking at bars with inconducive lighting, and jogging.)
  2. Recommended.
  3. Night people.
  4. Day people.
  5. Night people do not have these.

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