^^^Love this song.
Anywho, this post isn’t about the song, awesome though it may be.
I’ve started running again. Moreover, I’ve started running at NIGHT!
Cue “but what about dangerous muggers” talk.
Okay, fair, running at night isn’t for everyone. You certainly want to be in an area where it’s cool to do so and safe to do so. Be it safe from wild animals or wild muggers or the even more terrifying Wyld Stallyns, though then you just get a sweet party in a cool 1980’s styley.
But I do HIGHLY recommend the night running. It’s simultaneously eerie and peaceful, being out and moving around when the sun is down. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, to the extent that I’ve switched my sleep schedule around to where most of my day is in the nighttime. I live most of my life during the week between 9pm and 4/5am depending on how I’m feeling about sleep at the time. I believe I mentioned it in a previous post, but I was just tired of a work schedule that allotted me some time before work and some time after. I found too much of my time that could go to productive or leisure things were spent waking up, getting ready for work, winding down from work, eating and getting ready for sleep. I didn’t have any long periods of time where I could really buckle down and get shit done. It was driving me insane only being able to write in bursts and having like no time during the week to do any actually chores around the house. So I made the change.
It’s been a bit of a bitch, but it’s not the first time I’ve done this. I tried this sleep schedule a long time ago, but with my wife not being on the same schedule, I kept waking up when she’d go in for work and was getting dangerously little sleep. However, thanks (word choice?) to one of our cats getting nearly fatally ill and us having to get her food through a feeding tube every two hours for a couple weeks or so (I’ve blocked the time out of my mind, mostly) I’ve become less of a light sleeper and better at sleeping through my partners movements.
The biggest change lately has been working different obligations into the new schedule. Obviously, car maintenance and anything involving a lot of noise has been relegated to the weekends (apartment living blows). One such obligation was working out. My apartment complex has a small gym but a) parts of it, namely the bathroom parts, close down at a certain time and b) I really don’t like people moving around while I’m trying to do a workout routine. Getting in the way, using the machine you want, cracking the TV way up. It’s just annoying.
So I decided to one day just say “screw it, I’m gonna start running outside after work” to which the guy in front of me at the post office said “that’s nice” and scooted away from me a few inches. He seemed nice.
It’s been incredibly meditative. I run down a stretch of road near my apartment that is lit well enough where I won’t trip over an errant gator (a serious concern in Florida) but still has the calming dark of night. The road is lined by various offices and as I run a peek in and see the lights still on. I imagine how differently these places must be during the day. Occasionally, a car will pull into or leave one of these buildings, and I wonder what story lies behind this persons late night adventure. Is it just the mundane call of too much work? Is it an emergency? Perhaps some sort of seedy affair? Maybe a gator is hacking into their mainframe (a serious concern in Florida).
I find being out in the world at night, you see the world without the veneer of busy that persists toward the day. In the daytime, there are so many cars and people that they almost become objects: Things zipping to and fro acting as obstacles for our own commute or bodies occupying space in business shopping plazas.
At night, all these cars are at rest. All these people are at home. They are people, relaxing and unwinding. Reflecting on their own stories. Focusing on what they bring to the world. They are with family. They are watching shows or playing video games that they’ve thought about all day. They aren’t busy, they aren’t putting up shields. As I run past apartment complexes, I see some with lights on, some completely dark. Different people all living life at organically different paces. Humans receding into whatever their natural form is.
And the world joins. No hustle and bustle, just natural noise. Bugs and animals and wind and dirt. Dogs barking in the distance. Gators singing Jimmy Buffet songs to one another under the moonlight (Florida truly is beautiful). The natural sounds sometimes pierced by the engine of a car or someone walking trash to the dumpster or getting things out of their car or generally just heading outside to enjoy the air. Humans joining in with the natural symphony of the nighttime world, connecting with the planet to some degree. It’s a reminder that we’re one of those creatures of the world, like the bugs and the dogs and the singing gators.
It’s beautiful, really. Moving around at night, not just being somewhere populated like a nightlife hotspot or some sort of event, but literally moving around the world as everything around you winds down for the night. It’s the universe at its most vulnerable.
You may also want to carry a knife, though. Humans are part of the world and all, but they be crazy.
Maybe some mace.