Saturday, December 5, 2009

I'm getting too old for this...

My Nightwatch col from yesterday's Day and Night magazine. The headline as published in the magazine was 'Sleep is for wimps'.
Check out the headline as it appeared in the online link for a good laugh -

Vampires and zombies are so hot right now. And rightly so -- they're the trademark bookends of an excellent night out. You start the evening, all smoky-eye make-up and trailing an aura of mystique. If you're lucky, you get to sink your fangs into someone.

By the wee hours, though, you've shapeshifted into the other; drooling, mascara on a downward slide, arms stretched out ahead trying to feel your way home. Very few people know this next bit is a scientific fact. After 3am, if you close your eyes while walking, your internal GPS will kick in and bring you the most direct route to your bed. That route will also magically take in a chipper. It's biological genius.

What is not so genius is timing your arrival home after your first all-night party in ages -- ages, I tell you! -- with the departure of the new neighbour for work. Three words to strike dread into the heart: Walk Of Shame (WOS).

He's all "Oh, good night was it?", wink, wink. You're all mortified, fumbling with a key that turns out to be the one to your gym locker. It's all well and good to watch the sun rise on a beach in Barcelona. It's another to have to walk against a tide of office workers in one shoe.

That's why this is the perfect time of year to pull an all-nighter. As long as you make it home by 8am, you can do the WOS under cover of darkness. The temptation might be to put the head under the duvet and sleep until spring. But hibernation is death my friends. (Not literally. Unless you're a tortoise. If they're not fat enough when they go to sleep, they never wake up. Sad, no?)

This is the kind of reasoning that kept me from giving into my wintertime circadian rhythms last Friday night. When the clock struck three, I decided I could go home or I could stay and see what cocktails were to be constructed from Kahlua, gin and red lemonade. Naturally, the Portobello Power Punch(™) won out.

The house party is the best place to pull an all-nighter. It gets an injection of energy when a wave of people arrive as the pubs close. Three o'clock is the new midnight. Six is the new three. Seven is ... time to start clearing up and making tea.

You're among friends, or at least like-minded lushes. Chances are there is always someone who wants to be the last one standing. As long as that's not you, it's quite easy to not feel like a complete saddo for re-enacting Billie Jean on someone's kitchen tiles at half past five in the morning. Billie Jean will always be cool. Another scientific fact.

Also, the universe has been sending me signs recently that staying up is the right thing to do. A friend has acquired a turf-burning brazier. This means we can clink beers in the back garden without the earth-destroying guilt that goes with sitting under a patio heater for the night. The downside of this is that I woke up on Saturday wondering what was burning. It was the smell of a night of smoky peat in my hair.

There is also the curious case of 'little helpers' for the sleep-deprived (legal, I assure you) that seem to be popping up all over the place. I asked the guy in Spar if he'd tried the new Red Bull shot capsules. No, he said, but he'd heard they were "rocket fuel". I might save it for emergencies.

Then the local coffee shop started offering something called an 'intense' americano. I'll be having one of those, thank you, I told the girl behind the counter. She looked around her as if to check for the caffeine cops, leaned in and said: You know there are four shots of espresso in that?

"I can handle it, baby!" I said before going outside and gagging like a contestant in a bushtucker trial. If all this sounds like an endurance test, then I guess it is. But like the best tests of mettle -- climbing Everest, watching the Late Late Toy Show -- it's a bonding experience. You'll never have a friend like the one that sits up playing the ukulele with you till dawn.

- Susan Daly

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