On evenings

I used to work nights. Eight months ago, I started working days. Besides the obvious advantages to getting off work at five, I’ve discovered something I never thought I’d really care about. The evening. More specifically, an evening without plans.

An evening without plans – without worry, without obligations, without any sort of merit whatsoever – might be the greatest and most overlooked thing in life. I’m still becoming accustomed to the nights when I have nothing to do – when I can sit around and catch up on whatever it is I might want to catch up on.

Before, what seems like an entire career ago, I didn’t have evenings. I couldn’t enjoy the end of the day, because the end of the day involved getting home from work and going to sleep. My evenings were had during the day, from when I woke up until I went to work, and those evenings were punctuated by a hanging cloud of dread.

Now, I don’t dread my job. I don’t mind going to bed, getting up the next day, etc. I’ve had a night to recharge. And, it’s freed up a world of leisure opportunities.

I always meant to make use of my waking day hours, but I couldn’t. There are things that my body just can’t wrap itself around before work – things that only make sense as an after work activity. I couldn’t drag myself to the YMCA to work out. I couldn’t comprehend watching movies at noon, or reading, or doing anything except vegging out on the Internet for three hours before pushing myself into the car and on to work.

I’m a different person now. I feel free, as if a whole world has opened up in front of me. I’m gradually learning its ins and outs – even after eight months. Sure, I still manage to fill my evenings with activities – with television and books and sports and friends and exercising and all of the other boring things that a pseudo-suburban neo-yuppie does. But it’s the nights that I have nothing to do – a complete freedom from 5PM to 11PM – that I realize how important it is to take the night off and forget about work.

Here’s to evenings. Let them always be empty and fruitless.

This was lovingly handwritten on December 8th, 2006