(ED’S NOTE: Originally posted on my Tumblr.)
There is no escaping them.
I feel I need to explain that my deep-seated opposition to the vampires stems from my own largely nocturnal life. I work until 1 a.m. or later, sometimes much later, and it makes for a weird life. A very weird life. I’m quite confident my neighbors thought I was a hooker when we first moved in. Or that I ran an underground saloon, or something equally unsavory. I’m still trying to figure out how to dispel the myth that we’re meth cookers: The kitchen lights are frequently on until 4:30 a.m. or later. (I’m convinced — for better or worse — that Day People can’t possibly believe that anything legal is going on in a kitchen in the predawn darkness.)
Each workday I hurry out of the house just as the cul-de-sac begins to fill with crabby commuters who have already served their daily eight hours. After I do my time, I drive home following roads that wind through a soundly sleeping world punctuated by occasional signs of life and light. I would love to tell you that it’s a special time of night, but mostly it’s strange and a little frightening. My drive home isn’t long, but every car I meet is a threat: The driver is likely either drunk or texting — at least that’s what I believe. The few of us out there aren’t waging any noble battles against evil. There’s no bodice-ripping or neck-nuzzling or passionate and lustful staring. (Twilight fans, blame the studio marketers: This is what I’ve picked up from the movie trailers.)
Just trust me when I say, there’s really nothing erotic about haunting the aisles of Kroger at 2 a.m., and stalking a can of Chili-Lime Almonds isn’t all that forbidden.
My 2 a.m. is a Day Person’s 7 p.m., which means my 4 a.m. is Day Person’s 9 p.m. And I’m betting most Day People cannot or do not go to bed at 9 p.m. I’m relieved when I can get to bed by 2:30 a.m. And please don’t tell me to go to bed as soon as I get home: Could you sleep when you got home at 6:30? Thought not.
When my brain finally turns off, sleep does come, and I’m happy to say it’s without any aid — although Benadryl has been a friend in the past. I’m usually excited to wake up because I do enjoy the daylight. Unlike a vampire, I need the daylight.
Daylight’s aplenty, now that summer’s here, and I’m reminded of my night life’s few perks: I can spend happy hours in my amateur’s garden before I leave for work, mostly trying to remember what I planted where and when I last watered. I can chase shadows through my neighborhood, the sun sometimes my friend, sometimes my enemy. At work, there’s an easy, melodic chatter that’s not there in other seasons: excitement about this trip, that reunion, any given Saturday. After sundown, deadlines come and go, and the world falls asleep.
Later, in your tomorrow’s most silent hours, I sit on my porch and watch the few fireflies that are also still awake. I watch until the last one blinks goodbye, and then I go to bed. The sun’s first rays remind me I need to sleep well and fast. And I do.