When I visit my parents outside of Boulder or friends in Atlanta suburbs, I find myself vaguely weighing the pros and cons of living outside the city. On the one hand, it's quiet, calm, and friendly; on the other, I can't walk to any bars or bookstores or ethnic restaurants. (and the bars/bookstores/ethnic restaurants are usually better down here.)
One thing they definitely have on me, though: I'm willing to bet that my suburban acquaintances have never been awakened at 4:30 a.m. by some dude ringing the doorbell over and over and over, wondering if "my brother still lives here." I love livin' in the city.
As anyone reading this likely guessed (or as anyone who's spent more than about five minutes around me has heard, repeatedly), I've got some troubles sleeping even when Atlanta's citizens aren't contributing. I don't know when it started exactly, but when I remember my Mom teaching me yoga exercises in hopes of knocking me out even back in elementary school, so it's not like this just developed.
When I was younger, it was kind of fun. I'd stay up all night at Tucson's Orange Grove Denny's in high school, and then one summer in college I'd work till 4 a.m., go to the all-night party at my little brother's house, leave at sunrise and go to sleep, and wake up three or four hours later to go to another job, all with a seemingly limitless store of energy.
Now? Less fun. That energy's long gone and every minute of sleep is necessary. I worked three years on overnights, from 2001-2004, and was able to live -- now, two years later, it hits me far harder, and a few overnight shifts turn me into a neurotic wreck. I've cut back (way back) on coffee, exercise more, and I'm still lucky if I get four hours of sleep. Plus, Atlanta's not the most thrilling city to watch awaken, so there isn't even that to provide inspiration. A 5 a.m. trip to the Majestic Grill is as good as it gets.
By those standards, last night was a banner night: I'd got somewhere around five and a half/six hours before my unexpected guest. And there are advantages, I suppose, to waking up (or being awakened) this early -- I, uh, get a head start on the day? Have plenty of time to prepare breakfast? I suppose I should take my cue from the Army -- "We do more before 8 a.m. than most people do all day." Maybe I missed my calling -- I was meant for the military life.