“Night time…is the right time….to be….with the one you love…..”
That Ray Charles song resonates.
There’s a life-beat to it, a drawing, a capture that won’t quit, won’t let go.
Even the words amaze me.
Long before I figured out that ADD had a place in my life, I knew that the night-time was a friend. She would glance at me through her long dark hair, her smiling eyes dancing, daring and ready to run. And we would scamper around the dark city, curious about the next corner, not sure whether what was on the other side was dangerous or fun. Or both.
There were so many failed mornings; mornings that would see my mother grow exasperated and angry as I struggled to get my act together so as to get to school on time. Our school band had practice every single day for years at 8:00 in the morning. And every single morning – every *single* one – I found myself running to school. I never had enough time to merely walk it.
That should have told me something.
So many nights I became alive and alert.
There were many times after improv class when a few close friends and I got together, to sit under the stars at the top of an apartment building, listening to the sounds of the street. We spoke of so many “what ifs” and laughed and drank. It was under one of those night skies that my friend decided that next Hallowe’en he was going to dress as a priest. My other friend figured that if he was going to do that, she was going to dress as a nun. They both decided I should dress as an altar boy. With a slave collar and chain.
We would walk down Yonge St. and scandalize society as best we could.
There was a time, when I was still in high school and didn’t live in the big city. When I lived in Oshawa, a town that was about thirty miles away from The City. The train was the only way to get here, and so that’s what I did on occasion. I remember the first time I walked down Yonge St. too. (That’s the longest street in Canada, or so it’s said). It’s the main drag in Toronto, and it contains, per capita, the highest number of light bulbs on any given street you’d care to mention. There are bars, next to record stores, next to strip clubs, next to department stores, tarot card readers, ice cream parlours and other restaurants.
The street was – and is – *alive*.
That first trek down Yonge St. evidently made an impression on me. I remember a few hookers looking at my curiosity-filled, upturned, open-mouthed entirely naive teenage face, and laughing at me.
Where ever my feet would take me, that’s where I went.
I remember later trips, this time with friends, where we spent the entire night exploring the city, walking everywhere, laughing as the rain came down and we scooted from shelter to shelter. The fresh smell of the wet air was invigorating. We didn’t really *do* anything. Yet we had such a great time.
It took me the longest time to realize that it wasn’t Yonge St., or the long lightbulbed corridor, or the smells, or the curiosity that affected me so much.
It was the night-time.
Yonge St. during the day is boring. It’s filled with people, all scurrying from point A to B in the quickest way possible. It’s what I imagine major streets in New York to be like on a busy day, albeit on a slightly lesser scale.
Night time brings clarity. You notice things more at night. Like smells. Glances. Things. People. Lights.
There doesn’t seem to be an end to the night. You can’t really believe morning will ever get here. You revel in it, and you wonder how people can ever stand to be out there during the day.
Clubs, bars and curiosity shops each have their own characters that seem (to me) to only become apparent at night. The light show and driving thump-thumping of dance music in clubs compete with the gaze of strangers, all of whom seem as curious as you.
Here’s the thing: night-time captures my interest like nothing else does. The ADD-enhanced frustration of day time business goes away at night. That white noise buzzing of competing priorities fades away. Everything – EVERYTHING – becomes so clear. Like crystal.
I used to make a habit of walking the eight miles from my home to the south-most part of Yonge St.. I’d do this while listening to one of the extensive music playlists on my iPhone. The few times I did this last year was enjoyable, even though I found myself totally missing the scenery of that walk. The music took my mind away on vast vistas of thought. This happens every time I walk anywhere while the music is playing, and even when it’s not.
My leg is broken right now and I’m not walking anywhere.
But when it’s healed, one of the first things I’m going to do is walk from my place to the south end of Yonge St., again.
This time, I’ll do it at night.
I can’t wait.