NOCTURNAL JOURNAL

A Life Worth Skipping Sleep For

Time does not exist. Well, maybe it does, but I’ve chosen to ignore it the past few days.

For the third night this week, I decided to stay awake up until the sun came up. It’s a strange window of time right now where I have no obligations that require me to sleep like a normal person, and I’ve been taking advantage of that. There’s something beautiful about Isla Vista when the streets are empty, the people are asleep and at home, at the sun just begins to break out in its first pink hues.

I’m looking at my journal now, at phrases I wrote no more than a few days ago. I already can’t really remember what they mean.

English word of the day: pneumonoultramicroscopisilicovolcanioconosis

Spanish word of the day: desotorrinolaringologoparangaricutirimicuarillarse

“cheese…chico state university…chia pet” 

“hAHhhhHh is the new hahahaha. jaJJjAaajajaJA is the new jajajajaja”

“for real. sweet dreams, two cherries, dulce de leche, chocolate syrup, hold the queso.”

Of course I know why they’re written down. It’s what you do when you’re crushing kinda hard and every dumb conversation gains a strange sense of immortality. Jokes that aren’t funny are suddenly alive, and so are you, just to know that a little bit of your own weirdness is shared with another human being.

Maybe watching the sun rise hasn’t been my only motivation for staying up so late. Or early, depending on how you look at it.

Three days
Seven hours
Okay, maybe eight
Spent sleeping
All the others
Completely awake
I know what I’ll remember
So there’s no regrets
Making up for lost time
For the wonder that I left

 So night to night
Catch a load of life
Street block by block
Though you can’t see a thing
From night to night
Run into life
You can rest your eyes
When you’re finished breathing

We’ll settle for the evening
At least that’s how it looks
I’m playing all by ear now
Skip the instruction books
Befriend a morning person
And an all-day kind of guy
Meet somewhere in the middle
Delay time from its flight

I take a look at more words scratched into the journal. Attempted poetry. Something else that crushing will do to you.

You’d think that this lack of sleep, this nocturnality would be taking its toll on me. Everything seems to suggest that the human body wasn’t designed for staying awake all through the night to eke out stanzas and to faun over inside jokes. The human body wasn’t built for this, but perhaps the human spirit was. At least at certain moments.

In spite of my total lack of sleep this week, I’ve still felt fully energized. Wednesday I was up until 5:00 am. Then 3:30 the next day. 7:00 am after that. It’s now 3:30 and Daniel and I have just started an episode of Psych, so it looks like we’re on track to continue this pattern.

Maybe I’m just excited beyond reason to be back in Santa Barbara, and my sleep is a reflection of that. My excitement is real. It feels really good to be back immersed in my community with good friends who will stay up with you until that early in the morning. Late night and early morning meals, incredible conversations, catching up on stories. These are the things I know I won’t regret exchanging a few more hours of proper sleep for years from now, when life looks completely different.

This weekend has felt like an eternity, and I don’t think that’s a totally bad thing. Stuff that happened yesterday feels like forever ago. When I was pretty young, whenever I would be excited about something, I just wouldn’t sleep. Birthdays, holidays, trips and visitors. Right now, it’s these conversations and moments of true community that have me energized in a really deep way.

And after all the nighttime
You’re still a lovely friend
Tell me that last spring
Didn’t really end

The classic late nights
The ones we can’t seem to avoid
Bring back the last time
We came across the rising joy
There’s no replacement
For the purest source of peace
I’ve come to find it
Both on my feet and on my knees

I catch myself now at 6:42 am. The sky is turning that hue of smoky lavender that starts as a suggestion just after the sun has finished burning away the dark of the nighttime. It looks like this will be another night of staying awake until the day. I’m thankful that I don’t have any obligations this next day, unlike Daniel, who manages to stay up with me all this time in spite of having class the next day. I don’t know how he plans to pull this off.

We’ve been burning our way through Psych episodes. We were going for a few hours, then eventually I hopped into bed and started to sleep.

Except what really happened was us continuing to talk toe each other and share a conversation from across the room. We kept talking, and then I reminded him of a spontaneous purchase we made the last time we were at a Barnes and Noble– a Lego model of the Seattle Space Needle.

Half an hour later, we threw on some clothes and found ourselves at Denny’s, making a strange event of building a Lego tower over some plates of cheap breakfast at 5 A.M.– We ran into one of Daniel’s friends working on a paper with an old assistant professor of mine. I could only imagine the impression that we had on them, pulling a very different sort of all nighter.

We’ve gotten back home to fall asleep. At least that’s the plan. We’ll see if it really happens. It’s now 7 a.m.

It’s a very strange moment in my life, in transition between living abroad and finding my footing in Santa Barbara once again. It’s a moment where the demands of a new schedule have yet to hit me, and I’m free for late nights that bleed into sunrises and Psych marathons. It’s a moment of trying so hard to make a connection with her, while effortlessly making a connection with everybody else.

Life’s pretty great. It sends some really incredible people your way every now and then.

There will be the girl who you’ll want to stay up all night with, whether or not you’re a night owl, for the sake of conversation, learning more about each other’s quirks and histories, and dreaming up plans and inside jokes. She’ll be pretty great, but you won’t need anybody to point that out to you. You’ll be able to see that more easily than almost anybody else.

There will be the guy, though, who stays up with you that whole time as well. Who talks you through the ups and downs of that crazy pursuit, and believe me it’ll be a wild ride. While he might find your quest somewhat amusing, his lost sleep is an act of selflessness. He’s there, literally at your side, while you find yourself suspended in your own world.

Don’t overlook his importance. He’s a true friend. A great friend.

Philippe Lazaro2011