The latest I've slept since the holidays started is 6:30. On a work day, I barely drag myself out of bed by 6:40 and on vacation, I'm up at 5:30 or 6 most days. How is this normal? At least with my parents in town, I have some pre-dawn company. Dad is usually up by 5.
I did all the Christmas grocery shopping yesterday at 6am, at the 24-hour Teeter, with a bunch of stockers and one other shopper, probably an off-duty stalker, in the store. No lines. No open registers, even. One of the stockers (not the stalker) opened a register when I was finished. Registers On Demand: the way grocery shopping should always be.
I emerged from the store into the the usually crowded parking lot, with its half-dozen cars scattered across three acres of pavement. The sun was just rising and it was a little bit foggy-- mist enbough to muffle sounds but not enough to block out the streetlights. A few scavenging doves cooed and bobbed around the cars, and the soon-to-be-busy roadway nearby was completely silent. The feeling took me back to a moment in my late teenage years when we had pulled an all-nighter in the French Quarter. We wandered the streets as the bartenders were starting to wash the sidewalks and made our way to Jackson Square. Immediately in front of the cathedral, which ordinarily would be a riot of tourists, street performers, pastel portrait artists, fortunetellers, and the occasional churchgoer, it was misty and silent. Beneath a bum sleeping on a bench a little flock of doves searched for a rogue Lucky Dog bun.
They say that a smell can take you back to a powerful memory more than any other sense. I don't think I want to relive the smell of Jackson Square after a Saturday night. The smell of the beignets we ate a few minutes later would be OK. But a blanket of fog and the silence of pre-dawn, sprinkled with the busy bopping of a few doves, can put you at one with the universe for a brief moment.
I'll live with a bit of insomnia if it'll make me one with everything. I feel like a Lucky Dog.