I have always enjoyed the cozy comfort of late night silence. Even as a child, I seldom fell asleep until after midnight. Back in those days, I would invent games that I could play in the dark. I would count the stars from my bed, imagining what alien species was on the third one in the fifth circle of the north eastern quadrant. I would read books with flashlights in my closet because the bed clothes were not thick enough to hide the light. My father never figured out why those batteries didn’t last very long in the one that lived in the junk drawer in the kitchen. I would knit in the dark because Steve’s grandmother did it and her sight was taken by thick white cataracts. I would put the earplug in my transistor radio, hang the t-wire antenna out of my window , tuning the dial until I found something. I would try to predict when the EL would pull into the station across the street, enjoying the sparks from the third rail.
When the grownups left the living room and began to snore in their beds, I would sneak out into the house, careful not to step on certain boards that creaked the loudest. I would sit on the couch just because. I would eat cookies or crackers under the dinning room table where crumbs didn’t matter until Saturday morning vacuuming. I would steal baking chocolate from the box in the pantry, eating square by square until there were only two squares left, but never saying anything to Mama about buying more. She assumed Grandma used it and Grandma assumed she used it. Win win for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that children need to be in bed right after the blue hour has faded into black. Starlight is not good for young bodies. Bad stuff can happen to tender young things in the dark. And when the adults don’t get enough quiet time in the evenings, everyone suffers. Bedtime is decompression time for everyone.
Now, I have computers and kindles and book lights to entertain me in the night. The soft glow of their faces makes me smile. My grandmother would not have approved at all!