On Staying Up All Night

Which I did for the first time in a long time last night.

Megan and I had a Veronica Mars marathon (the last seven or so episodes) after having a blast at the Houston Entertainicle Fundraiser Party Bash Thingie.  While there, we met a guy named Don whose in the band Rusted Shut and who makes killer chicken and sausage (sold separately).

But after we got home, I was somewhat glutted with food and Megan was in a watching mood so, instead of geeking out on Oblivion, we finished following the trials and travails of our favorite teenage detective.

My brother used to try to get me to stay up all night.  He’d plug me full of NoDoz and I’d down them with coke and still my eyes would shut of their own accord, no matter how much I protested or propped them open with toothpicks.  (By the way, don’t try that at home.)

This was when we lived together at home before college.  This was when we’d stay up late to play games like Warhammer or Adeptus Titanicus.  This was when sleeping in the rec room was like camping out, only twenty feet away from our bedrooms, but staying up in their under the skylight cloudy with pollen and fallen twigs it was as though we were absent from civilization, foreign from the world we knew, school, regular meals, any sort of rules or regulations.

I was never good at staying up.  My body’s spring would run down and, no matter what anyone threatened or did, I slept.  All efforts at making me uncomfortable failed because sleep trumped them: it’s hard to be uncomfortable when unconscious.

The last time I really remember staying up all night (outside of being sick, and lack of sleep due to sickness is a misery I hope to never repeat) was in a train station in Rome.  I’d arrived late at night and had hours (three?  five?  it felt like forever) to wait for my connecting train and though others young travelers on the train wandered out into the Italian night, I didn’t feel safe leaving all my possessions in the station, nor did I want to carry around an army-sized backpack weighed down with said possessions.

Instead, I sat in the train station.  I read.  I tried to sleep (oh, how I tried) and, afraid of theft, intertwined the straps of my backpack around my feet.  Another backpacker had his guitar stolen from him, the strap cut, the case slipped away from beneath his bedridden eyes.

Luckily, I never had anything so valuable.

In Kraków, I would walk the streets late at night.  I had nowhere to be in the morning, no reason for sleep.  I liked the way the streets at night would glow.  Yes, of course, there were streetlamps, but in my memory the light comes from the cobblestones, a bright fog.  I knew of at least one twenty-four hour bar I could’ve haunted all night long, patiently watching for the rim of brightness to outline the shaded windows, for day to come back again after oversleeping (nights were so long there during the winter) and welcome me into the hungover world.

People were up and about, but then people were always up and about the streets of Kraków.  But in the morning the sounds were sparser, sharper.  The city demanded being woken up slowly.

Those few mornings I rose early enough to see the change, I found a cafe, coffee, a pastry.

Even with all the other people around, it felt as though the world was mine alone.

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