All of my deepest thinking seems to happen in the darkness. At night, before I go to bed, a thousand thoughts fill my head and keep me from slumber. I usually get up and go for a walk when I can’t sleep. It is probably an unsafe hour for a pedestrian but still, I lace up my shoes and head out the door. I find myself wishing that I lived in a world where there was no sunlight. Maybe it’s the lack of night traffic and illusion of a lesser population in Los Angeles. Whatever it is about the hours between dusk and dawn, I love it. There are too many people in this city. I constantly feel like I’m dodging a man to man collision, avoiding eye contact with strangers, trying to outsmart traffic and searching for the nearest exit to get away from a crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I love this city but sometimes it’s nice to feel like the only person in the whole world.
Interacting with people is great. Equally great? A daily dose of solitude. It is exhausting to constantly keep up. I talk too much when it’s not appropriate and can’t find the words when it is. It’s amazing how chatting with friends is one of my favorite things to do while making small talk with people I don’t know is honestly a chore. This applies mainly in the sphere of Hollywood nightlife, where LA feels like a parody of itself. If you live here, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I want to make a T-shirt with my name on it along with it’s pronunciation, my occupation, location of birth, social security number and all other answers to questions people ask me at parties and in passing that I find redundant and irrelevant to the current social situation. That way I can point to my shirt when anyone asks me something I don’t wish to waste my breath on. I don’t mean to sound like a crazy person, but what’s up with the interrogation people?
As I mentioned in another post, I am a watcher. I’d rather be in the background and on the sidelines than in the spotlight. Apparently that includes daylight. I feel more like myself at night when it’s quiet and people aren’t everywhere. That is when I can think the most clearly. I’m suddenly energized and need to get out into the world and live and experience things. So I tour the city neighborhoods on foot and take it all in. All of my senses are heightened. Most people forget to utilize their senses during the day and take for granted the involuntary processes in which we perceive our surroundings. People don’t take the time to appreciate them. When was the last time you truly listened to what the world was telling you? Because I am more aware of the process, I can hear better, as if I have some type of sonar. Small noises like cars passing, footsteps approaching and people talking in their apartments are amplified. My sense of smell is stronger. I catch the scent of flowers, laundry being washed in garages, and inhale the smoke from fires burning in fireplaces. I can feel the breeze and the wind as it blows through me and I see things that I would normally overlook in the light.
For example, tonight I walked one street over from my house, a street that I drive up and down every day. For the first time ever I saw a large pair of dice on the lawn in front of a house that had never caught my eye previously. It was the most random lawn decor I’ve ever seen. My neighborhood feels like an undiscovered maze. Wherever there is a sign that says“Not a Through Street”, I go into it. I’m curious to see what other things are hiding. The darkness illuminates what is real. Whenever I walk during those hours, I see so many strange and interesting things taking place within people’s houses. I see their lives unfold before my very eyes.
Once in New York, I was on my friend Aaron’s rooftop at night. The apartment complex across the way from his was like a stage in a play. Each apartment was it’s own scene. No one seemed to have curtains. All of the units were illuminated with bright light. I could see what each and every person was doing inside and I couldn’t help myself. I stood there and watched these people. I felt like I was secretly intruding on their privacy. They were unknowingly sharing their most intimate and personal activities with the voyeur across the street, yours truly, the local neighborhood creep.