It’s sometime past “late” and before “really late”, but apparently not yet “late enough”.
The Internet dances and sings to me through blog posts, YouTube clips of political gaffes and rambling counter arguments. I read narrow-minded opinions regarding things I don’t care about. reddit.com hasn’t changed at all in the last fifteen refreshes, not that it really ever does anymore. The computer games are boring, the book I’m reading is in a dull spot, and my buddy list is filled with idle icons.
Eventually I try again. I pause the music, close the lid to my laptop, turn off the lights and lay down on my bed. The memories of the momentary distractions fade away until my bedroom grows quiet. It’s just me, the darkness and the absolutely insanity that occasionally roars inside my brain.
It’s not always the same insanity, and it’s not always there. It seems to come and go with the moon, or some other celestial body of insanity. Sometimes I worry about the heat death of the universe. The distinct possibility of nuclear war and the shortsightedness of our foreign relations. Other times I can’t stop thinking about what happens when you die. About whether or not I’m a failure in some ‘meaning of life’ sense. The normal methods to change the channel rarely work once the lights are out. The insanity is enough to keep me awake, and I lay there until a miracle happens and I actually fall asleep.
I used to think the 3AM doldrums only struck when you were alone. Once in college I was asleep on my futon, my girlfriend snuggled up on my arm, and for the absolute life of me I could not mentally get past the meaninglessness of existence. I’d try to think about other things, about school, or work, or her, but I kept coming back to the idea that we’re all pushing around dirt on a poisoned planet that will be gobbled up by a supernova long after we’re all dead.
Eventually I woke her up and asked her to tell me a story. She looked at me for a moment, but must have understood the scared look on my face. I don’t remember what she said or what story she told, but I remember laughing and falling asleep.
I don’t chalk it up to actual insanity. We all have demons or thoughts that inhabit the dark corners of our brain. The insecurities and fears that lurk just beneath our conscious thoughts, just waiting for that quiet hour of the night when there’s absolutely nothing left to defend against them.
Being alone with nothing but your own insanity is important from time to time. All the little ways we hide start to fail, and we’re forced to confront what we’re really worried about. When I worry about the meaninglessness of existence I’m occasionally worrying about why I can’t find much meaning in my existence. Sometimes it’s simply related to having a shitty day.
Some people watch movies or TV to escape the 3AM hour. Some drink until they pass out. Some stay up playing games or reading on the internet until their brain just shuts off. Others refuse to ever let themselves be alone in a bed, reason and good taste be damned.
It’s useful to find some peace within yourself, because you can’t hide forever; everyone’s alone at 3AM.