So. How ’bout that election, huh? I bet some of you even stayed up past your bedtime tracking results, flipping channels and analyzing analyses.
Welcome to my world. Not the political part, but the late-night living. It’s rare that I get to bed before 2 a.m. anymore even though I have to be up by 6:45 a.m. to get my oldest daughter off to school. While I could blame the sports-writing profession for this habit, the truth is that I’ve always been a bit of a night owl. My dad used to call me a Midnight Marauder, and that wasn’t a Tribe Called Quest reference.
Since my mid-teens, I’ve just generally enjoyed staying up late even if there’s not necessarily anything going on. I’d watch Late Night with Conan O’Brien or read (yes, I used to read) or eat cereal – just hang out and enjoy the relative quiet. In a way, staying up later than most of the world is a lot like waking up before most of the world. Yet it’s also completely different. Usually, we are required to wake up early whereas staying up late seems more elective and somehow eventful, even when it’s not. There’s are very different connotations: Farmers wake up early to put in a long day at work; people stay up late to attend events and socialize.
The reason I bring this up is that my gym switched its hours beginning this week, opting to – based on the results of a member survey – to open 30 minutes earlier (5 a.m.) and close 30 minutes earlier (9:30 p.m.). Needless to say, I’m not a fan.
In the scheme of one day, 30 minutes isn’t much – it’s 1/48th, to be exact. But in the scheme of my day, the change takes my already small window of opportunity to exercise – the outlet that keeps me relatively sane – and cuts it in half. That is, I go to the gym at 9 p.m. probably three times a week, sneaking off after putting my wife and kids to bed. I don’t want to give up that time with them or halve my workouts. The bottom line is that I’ll have to adjust somehow.
Except I don’t want to. I understand that gyms and restaurants and stores and movie theaters are businesses above all else, and that very few of them can afford in a city the size of Sioux Falls (metro population: 250,000) have any desire or ability to stay open beyond “normal” hours. But why do the night owls usually have to lose out? It’s odd that waking up super early is more socially acceptable than going to be late.
Not only do I work at midnight and beyond, I’m apt to do laundry or balance my checkbook or buy groceries. There’s less traffic, less pressure, less urgency business hanging overhead. It’s downright splendid, and I’d like to be able to do more things in those conditions. In fact, that’s what makes me most jealous of folks like Fury – New Yorkers. From the outside, there seems to be no shortage of stuff to do late at night in the Big Apple. I mean, it’s almost as if the city never sleeps.
And, again, I’m not just talking about entertainment and food options, although it would be fantastic to have more of those, too. (Did you know that Taco Bell doesn’t stay open until 2 a.m. here? A total outrage.). Rather, I’m talking about productivity – being able to go to the bank or schedule appointments or … exercise. (And, yes, I’m aware there are some 24-hour fitness centers, but they’re not as good or as close to my home.) There are so many professions and religions and styles of dress and types of people, and a vast majority of it is accepted by society yet the late-night lifestyle continues to be cast aside.
Anybody up for running for president in 2016 and making that their platform? Oh, well. I probably wouldn’t remember to register to vote for you anyway.