April 16 2016



The world thinks very highly of people who get up early. They’re famously the ones who get all the worms, which doesn’t actually sound that great, unless it’s a metaphor for something. I’m the opposite, a natural night owl with little interest in pecking at the ground for worms, even if that does present some disadvantages. Because staying up late is still regarded as a bit of an immature thing to do.  Grown-ups are people who get up early and go to their businesses and do business stuff with briefcases and judge us shadow people with their judgeness. They’d think differently, though, if they knew our dark, yawning secrets.

But it’s great for doing anything indoors, for a few possible reasons. Some studies have found that night owls are more creative than others, and sure that’s flattering and all, in the way that cherry-picking studies that compliment you can be. But there’s more to it than just innate creativity; when you’re up late there are fewer people around to disturb you from your great works. I do a bit of writing myself, and I can tell you that a key step in the process of writing something good is first writing several things that are awful. It’s the revisions where the magic happens, but you need something, even something awful, to revise in the first place. It’s a lot easier to do this when no one else is around to see what your diseased mind has conjured; I honestly have no idea how people write in busy public places like coffee shops.

Television is famously garbage at night; with no one important watching, there’s no reason for networks to air particularly good programming, leaving this the domain of infomercials and third-tier talk shows and movies you’ve seen many times before. Most of the online communities and social networking sites go into semi-hibernation as well, as do online games, if they don’t fill up with people from countries that speak English all wrong.  Around 3 in the morning, the stars rearrange in the sky to spell out secret messages only night owls can read.

So the next time one of your younger co-workers yawns during a morning meeting, spare them your mockery. Instead, look them squarely in the eye smile with respect to them. They deserve nothing less.

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