Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Night Shift

Last night very late I ended up wandering through the streets of Toronto for a little while.  It was a bit of a winter wonderland moment where I really felt the juxtaposition of a busy city with the silence and darkness of the middle of the night.

I was only travelling a short distance and knew my route perfectly well.  All I had to do is walk along a main street, turn right 4 blocks later and arrive at my destination.  Instead the wonder of the night took me and I decided to cut through back alleys and take shortcuts to get to my target.

I ended up wandering through a construction area and came up short at a 8 foot chain link fence.  I am no wilting flower to be stopped by a simple fence so instead of simply turning around and walking the extra distance to a main street I went over the top.  I was wearing the ever so stylish 'socks with sandals' which as I understand it is ideal climbing equipment.  The climb was unremarkable though not at all quick and I ended up at my destination significantly slower than if I had just taken the most obvious route.

There is something about the silence and aloneness of the night that affects me.  It brings me back to my time in university where I stayed up all night all the time and only ever enjoyed saw 6 o'clock AM by being awake late rather than early.  The feel of nighttime from the cool air to the utter silence of the slumbering buildings around me somehow takes me right back to those earlier days.  I will refrain from calling them the good old days since that would require too much application of rose coloured glasses but certainly they had some enduring charm.

I expect that everyone is affected by the lack of observation that night brings.  People do things under the cover of darkness that they would never do during the day and that feeling of freedom and anonymity certainly affected me last night.  Some part of me longs to feel that every day, to find room to wander the empty, dark streets at 2 in the morning every night to savour the sensation of a sleeping world.  The more rational part of my brain tells me that being fuzzy headed every day of my life is not worth the questionable thrill of regular outings during the dark hours.

I suppose nocturnal rangings will have to remain a occasional guilty pleasure for me, something that harkens back to wandering home just as the sun is coming up and yoinking furniture off lawns that has been put out for the trash.  Not that I need furniture that others have discarded these days, but the thrill of finding that someone had put out a perfectly good chair for the trash and I was the first to find it is one I will treasure.

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