Friday, December 27, 2013

The Night Owl: Notes from the Wee Small Hours of the Morning, When I Ought to Be Abed



            There are Day People, and then, there are Night People. I am one of the latter. I can’t stand folks who brag, “Oh, I woke up at 5 am, and I just couldn’t get back to sleep, so I just began my day. And I got so much done, can you believe it?” There is this implied superiority, as if people who are insomniacs, or have guilty consciences, are better than folks like me, who would prefer to sleep just a little bit longer in the morning.
            Years ago, when I was younger—in my twenties, going to grad school for English Literature, attending rabbinical school, and B and I working as substitute teachers in the NYC Board of Education for money ($40 a day, a princely sum in the 1970s), and never having enough money—God! We were so busy, then!—we used our weekends for sleeping, religiously. Our all-time sleep record was 2 pm. One time, B and I slept so long, we went wandering into Waldbaum’s Supermarket in the late weekend afternoon in search of smoked fish and bagels for brunch. Most of the other folks there were buying dinner, but we were newlyweds, and our internal clocks ran differently.
            We don’t do that anymore. There comes a time when the human body has different sleep requirements. But I still do enjoy staying up late—which is foolish, especially tonight—it’s 1:35 am and counting—and I have to get up to do a morning service at 7:15 am. There is something about the late night, when it’s all quiet, and I can hear myself think.
I imagine that I can almost hear God thinking, which would be wonderful: does God do His planning late at night? Does He bounce His ideas off the angels—all the angels, including the Minor, Nameless Ones created for one mission only, or just the Archangels, the Superior Ones whose names end in –El, like Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel (“Who-is-Like-God,” “Healer-of-God,” and “Strength-of-God”)? Or does all that famous monologue in Genesis—“Come, and let Us make Man in Our image”—amount to nothing more than a conscious imitation of Queen Victoria’s royal “we,” as in, “We are not amused” when she didn’t understand the joke that Disraeli was telling her? (She wasn’t the sharpest bayonet on the  musket, was old Vicky.)
            Just letting You know, God: if you have any plans for the world, and need someone to run them by, I’m available. I’m no Moses, and therefore don’t qualify for daytime, face-to-Face prophecy, but You can couch the proposal in a dream sometime—that’s a fairly low level of divine communiqué, and I believe I could handle it.

            Keep me in mind; I try to keep You in mind, too. A lot.