The world is interesting after everybody has gone to sleep. Everything gets a little quieter. Even in the big cities that they say “never sleep.” In the small hours of the night, sometime after the bars close, but before the rush hour begins, it gets quiet, or, at least, nearly so.
I’ve heard some people talk about how much they could get done if they didn’t have to sleep, but their assumptions aren’t quite true. In truth, there’s only so much you can do by yourself. There’s also only so much work you can do consecutively before you start to go a little crazy. There’s not much I can get done in the late hours, so I walk. No, I don’t walk across the country or anything extreme. I just walk around the city. As I walk, I watch the city go from the bustling night life that everybody is used to, to the near-dead darkness of the after hours. I continue walking after the darkness has come. I see everything the dark pockets of this city has to offer. I see the homeless, sleeping on benches or directly on the sidewalk. I see police, slowly patrolling the nearly empty streets, always slowing further when they see me but never stopping. I see dead-eyed people working graveyard shifts, never fully awake, day or night, thanks to the whims of their employers. I even see things I sometimes wish I wouldn’t. The darkness brings out those who would rather be unseen. Most people will gladly oblige them. They lay, sleeping, safe in their beds. They can pretend these things don’t exist in their city. I can’t. I see it all, the drug deals happening in empty parking lots, the prostitutes doing their work in a city park, the men dragging an oddly long trash bag into an abandoned building, and I wish I didn’t
I could avoid it, I guess. I could stay at home and never have to see that. If I could sleep like the others, this wouldn’t be a problem. I don’t even own a bed. I don’t know how I would go to sleep if I wanted to. There’s no one waiting for me at home, the constant restlessness always drives them away. So I could go home and never see any of that, but I would just sit there, alone, doing nothing, night after night. That is the path to insanity, so I’ll continue to walk, no matter what I see. Besides, I’ve got to make sure the people on graveyard shift have someone to talk to.