I have a friend who gets up at 3:00 am every day and goes to the gym for a swim before starting work as a mergers and acquisitions expert and financial consultant. He’s been doing this for years and loves it. He’s that kind of person. He is an early bird, a morning lark. On the other hand, I am a night owl. I can stay up working, reading, and putzing around until the time my friend wakes up. Then I go to bed. So, you might say we arrive at 3:00 am from opposite ends of the day.
Here’s the thing. While my friend likes being a morning lark, I do not like being a night owl. I would much rather rise early and get all my work done before noon. This presents a philosophical dilemma. I prefer to be something that I am not, although not for expediency’s sake. I don’t just want to get up early to check things off on a list. That’s not the point. I want to be an early riser, one of those people who do it naturally. You know, like thin people whose veins pop out on their forearms.
To put it another way, as that eminent philosopher of the people, Popeye, used to say, “I yam what I yam and dat’s all what I yam.” But I want to be different from what I yam or at least more than what I yam. And therein lies the rub.
The good news is that I can now lay blame for my condition on something else: Twitter. And who would blame me for blaming Twitter? It is almost as unpopular as Uber. The thing that saves them is the dopamine hit people get when someone clicks on the little heart next to their tweet. Apparently, it’s like being addicted to a drug.
I have never been interested in drugs. Still, I have been obsessed with Twitter, at one point managing five separate accounts and posting tweets at all hours of the night. And then there was that magical moment when I shared a pole on the #1 train with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. I stared, he looked away. It was awkward, but you get used to that sort of thing in New York.
I blame Twitter for preventing me from altering my genetic makeup; that is, changing from a night owl into a morning lark. How do they do this? By allowing all manner of jackass onto their site. These people post inane, irrelevant, ideological, insulting, self-serving, embarrassing, violent, and hateful messages. And please don’t think “hateful” applies just to the Right. That’s the Left’s tactic to get you not to notice their hateful posts.
I respond either directly or by retweeting without comment. Some things do not need embellishment and can stand on their own like the violence in Venezuela or anything from the mouth of fellow New Yorker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It’s hard to fall asleep in the face of such monumental ignorance or, as in the case of Elizabeth Warren, fraud.
I have gotten into the execrable habit of opening Twitter as soon as I go to bed for the night, which is my own form of ignorance. You might ask, “Well, what does he expect? Of course he can’t sleep. It would be like eating a piece of bad meat.” But it’s worse than that. When I get enough aggravation from Twitter, I turn to YouTube, where the craziness takes off, as it were, on a Saturn V rocket.
Anything up to 12:30 am is salvageable. It will mean sleeping past 7:00 am, but that is still acceptable. However, 1:00 am marks the fail safe point. Once I cross that Rubicon, my fate is as sealed as Caesar’s.
I have watched YouTube posts on Versailles, the Vatican, World War II, meteorites, Mennonites, the global vortex, the life of an avocado, Queen Elizabeth, alien hieroglyphics, the gilets jaunes of France, experiments on monkey memory, how to pick a quality suit, Julia Child, ISIS, Immanuel Kant, and a reenactment of a tenth-century Mass in Sweden. I have also spent hours on the Textbook Depository, Lee Harvey Oswald’s phone call from jail, the Freemasons, and Latin verse. Some things you’ve just go to know before falling asleep.
My lament ends happily, though. I have decided that I cannot go through another puffy-eyed, listless day. So I am forcing myself to go to bed by 10:30 pm. That usually means I am up by 5:30 am. You might think that’s extreme the other way, but I have more energy and work efficiently now. Besides, there is another, unexpected benefit. My coffee grinder sits just below my upstairs neighbor’s bed. The loud neighbor. With heavy boots. The joy is indescribable.