Forget twilight, midnight, the Witching Hour–the true magic occurs between 3 and 4 in the morning. When it’s technically morning, and yet still undeniably nighttime. It’s that threshold between dreaming and waking, between reality and sleep-deprivation-induced insanity. It’s a time when you know, fundamentally, no civilized being should be conscious, let alone active.
It is also my usual wakeup call. For in order to reach the monkeys before dawn, you see, we must rouse ourselves to action at this unholy hour every field day, roughly two of every three days. And after so much time bumbling around in the dark while my brain gradually climbs the evolutionary ladder from primitive amphibian to–at best–drugged neanderthal, I have made several discoveries. The following is absolutely true about the hour from 3am to 4am:
–Jokes are not funny (“Uh-oh guys, the car’s dead and we can’t go to the field today!”)
–Serious things are (“No, seriously, the car’s dead and we can’t go to the field today.”)
–No matter how well you may have laid out your things the night before, they will have moved in the night. No doubt due to gremlins.
–Rats, roaches, and toads are just as surprised as you are when you encounter them in the kitchen.
–90% of the people you meet on the street are drunk, and have yet to go home from the prior evening. For that matter, so are the drivers, who must be avoided at all costs.
–Every little ache, itch, and twinge in your body is undoubtedly a symptom of some much worse disease and every rational thought in your mind will tell you to go back to bed immediately.
–Stray dogs love to sleep in the middle of the road.
–Your boots still haven’t dried out from that time you fell in the river two days ago.
–That minor scrape on your arm has festered overnight into something that looks leprous. You should definitely go back to bed immediately.
–Your roommates have deliberately strewn their laundry and phone charger cords across the floor to trip you.
–The toilet never works.
–Ants are usually asleep, but can be easily woken up and will be just as grumpy as you when they are.
–The monkeys are never where they’re supposed to be.
–That grogginess isn’t due to lack of sleep, or dehydration, but is most likely Dengue or Zika or flu and you should definitely go back to bed this instant, it just makes sense, oh God why am I awake?
–Coffee is worth its weight in gold, but there is never time to make any (aka Cappuchino’s Paradox).
–If anyone was snoring last night, you are perfectly justified in murdering them, honor-killing style.
–Jokes are still not funny (“Hey, that cough sounds awful. We should stay home today!”)
–Very serious things are hilarious (“Was that a piece of lung?”)