Point / Counterpoint

Photo Credit: Rachelle Tjahyana

I’m a night owl!

By Max Hill

Tonight is going to be different.

Tonight, I’m going to set my alarm for eight. I know, I know, it’s already two in the morning, but I read an article that said that people who sleep for less time every night live longer. Or maybe it was an episode of QI. It sounds like something Stephen Fry would say. Anyway, I don’t want to die at age 50 because I sleep eight hours every night. How depressing would that be?

That’s right: I’m going to wake up early and make coffee and read my copy of The New Yorker and tidy up the kitchen, like a real adult. Maybe I’ll even have time to make myself an omelette. When was the last time I actually made an omelette on a weekday? Seriously, those mushrooms are going to go bad unless I eat them soon. And I can see that bell pepper shrivelling up every time I open the fridge. I can start the day right and be in the office by nine.

Damn it, how is it already three? All I did was check out that one Wikipedia article about the Great Emu War.

Okay, okay — maybe eight is a little unrealistic. It’s already 2:15. And I’ve still got to work on that paper proposal for tomorrow. Plus, I really wanted to transcribe that interview for my hitchhiking article. Not to mention I still have three or four pieces to approve, and I should probably read that Adorno essay and make some notes because I know by the time I hit the wall tomorrow afternoon I’m not going to want to do anything except crawl under the covers and sneak in a power nap before vacuuming the place and making dinner.

Nine. Nine I can do. I’ll take a quick shower and grab a banana and be out the door. I can make it up the mountain in time to get some work done before my office hour. I’ve got emails to respond to and I should probably get in touch with my group members before they start to think I’m blowing them off. I’ll just finish this one last Mental Floss article and then I’ll brush my teeth and get a cool seven hours.

Damn it, how is it already three? All I did was check out that one Wikipedia article about the Great Emu War. Well, and then the one about the history of Australia. And then there was that list of maps with the one that shows how only two per cent of Australians live in the middle part of Australia, and then the last half hour I’ve spent looking up a mod for Australia in Civilization V. . .

Blergh. Looks like it’s going to be another long night.

I’m an early bird!

By Joel MacKenzie

Tonight, I’m staying up late. Again.

Waking up at six or seven was a dream that I once dared to dream. I would walk into the rising sun, the morning smelling of blooming flowers, dew newly evaporating, heavy breath from sleeping houses, the unravelling of the string covering the day. Before there were assignments, dishes, rent, responsibility, etc., I could wake up early, and I could experience this.

Mornings are soft reverb on a hollow-body guitar. They’re an apple the hour it turned fully red. They’re a top held between two ready twisting fingers. They’re delicate and fleeting, meant to be enjoyed with careful tenacity.

When I stay up late, yeah, I could watch TV. I could spend more time on Netflix. I could watch Attack on Titan back to back to back, like that’ll make the next episodes come faster.

I could read, I could cook, I could do a number of activities that are a lot more comfortable in the light of day. Also, writing papers: more comfortable in the light of day; if I had any time in the light of day to do them.

Really, the problem here is all the unnatural light we’re looking at all the time. Apparently, and this makes sense if you think about it from a evolutionary standpoint, our eyes aren’t made for looking directly into light, so looking at light will make our entire generation blind within the next couple dozen years. Probably.

Mornings are feeling an aching body charging, bending, warming.

Can you die from looking at a screen for too many hours straight? I’m performing the experiment, if one hasn’t been done yet.

Can you die from the stress of writer’s block? It feels like I’m dying slowly, even when my writer’s block comes in the form of playing guitar, or chasing down important facts on YouTube or IMDb. With the deadline in the back of my mind, I can’t openly enjoy any of these. But. . . how many movies was Tom Waits in?

When I was young, early summer mornings were bike rides, walks to new a adventure, promises of a future of joy and passion; sometimes, they were not thinking of the future at all. Mornings were living, breathing; they were a natural rum in the belly, burning right above the belt.

Now, nights are deadlines and computer screens.

Mornings are the satisfaction of knowing you can do something difficult. Mornings are feeling, feeling an achy body charging, bending, warming. Mornings are breathing under a full tree in the rain in summer. Mornings are breathing  the green off the leaves.