It’s almost 3am on a Tuesday night, well I guess oficially it’s now Wednesday morning, but whatever, this is no hour for semantics. You might be wondering why I am not curled up in my bed counting sheep while breathy zzz’s rythmically exit my mouth. Sometimes I think I must have been an owl in a previous life (no, I don’t hang out in trees waiting eagerly to pounce on small unsuspecting mammals, nor do I have aspirations of delivering post to young wizards. I’m referring to the nocturnal nature of the owl, watching the world in darkness as the rest of it sleeps.) I have regular owl-esque phases, (I guess you could call it insomnia) and despite the sleep deprivation there is something about the wee small hours before the sun breaks through the darkness and the cogs of daily life start to whir again that I would miss, were I to suddenly develop a regular sleeping pattern. If you ask me a city is the perfect habitat for the insomniac. Life for an insomniac in small coastal towns in Australia is a confrontingly lonely existence. You feel like you’re the only person left in the world, it’s so quiet that the silence is taken over by a cachophany of incidental noises that would normally be drowned out in the daily din. The buzz of a streetlight, the rythmic roar of the ocean in the distance, the buzz of a hungry mosquito circling like a sniper pilot, the hum of your refrigerator and the tick of your alarm clock; a 60 second reminder that time stops for no one, that seems to get louder with every minute that rushes from the present into the past. And then you move to a big city and you realise that it’s not just New York that doesn’t sleep but cities in general. No matter what time it is, as I stand in front of my window or on my deck with a cup of tea in my hand the city is living breathing and moving, life goes on after the lights go out. Whether it’s the cry of a siren, the pitchy serenades of bar flies who’ve been swatted out of closing pubs, the meaty growls of souped up cars as macho hoons run laps of the city like urban Schumacher’s or the rattle of bikes over the cobblestoned street below, this symphony of the night is a calming reminder that I’m not alone, that the world hasn’t stopped and that I’m still a part of something, even at 4 am.
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