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I’m not sure how much I may or may not have mentioned this on the blog over the last year or so, but I love sleep. So, naturally, I wasn’t too thrilled when my wife booked herself a 6 AM flight to go visit her sister. But whatever, I’m a good husband, so I got up at 3:30 AM this morning to take her to the airport. It’s not the first time in my life I’ve been up at 3:30 AM. There have been several times (most of them youth group lockins) where I have been still awake at 3:30 AM. And there have even been a few times where I have had to get up and get moving that early for some reason. Most recently it happened on Christmas Day, when Michelle and I woke up at 3:45 AM to drive to Atlanta to spend the holidays with her family.
But for some reason, stuff kept jumping out at me this morning. Not literally jumping out at me, but like I kept noticing things that are different at 3:30 AM. Here’s a list of some things I noticed that are different about the world when you wake up waaaaay too early on your day off…
The Sky – The sky is dark at 3:30 AM. Very dark. Normally I wake up around 6 AM. This time of the year, in the South at least, you’re just beginning to see a little bit of light on the horizon at 6 AM. Not so at 3:30. This seems like a basic observation, I know, but try waking up at 3:30 AM once and it’ll jump out at you, too.
The Trees – They’re hard to see, because the sky is so dark. Unless you shine a flashlight at them. But then you can only see a little bit of the trees. And the neighbors think you’re strange for standing on your back porch shining a flashlight at the trees. What are they doing up so early, anyways?
The Interstate – It’s almost empty. Except for highway department workers. As it turns out, they actually do work sometimes. I saw them moving vehicles with flashing lights from one place to another, and there was even one group that was picking up traffic cones.*
Facebook/Twitter – I was up and about from 3:30 to about 5:15 this morning, and in that whole span of time I only got one new Twitter/Facebook update. My conclusion: normal people are asleep between 3:30 and 5:15 AM.
Wal-Mart – On a whim on my way home, I decided to swing into Wal-Mart and observe a little bit. Guess what? I observed a lot. Here are some of my observations:
– Normally when I go to Wal-Mart it’s a complete madhouse. Not so at 4:30 AM. You know who’s at Wal-Mart at 4:30 AM? Wal-Mart employees who got stuck working the night shift. Most of them are not happy about it, seemingly.
– “24 Hour Wal-Mart” actually means “You can come at 4:30 in the morning, as long as you don’t mind employees who literally act like you’re not there and having to walk through a maze of areas that are closed for restocking or floor cleaning.”
– Speaking of floor cleaning, did you know that the machines they use to buff the floors at Wal-Mart are gas powered? How awesome is that?!
– Most Wal-Marts have anywhere from 24-32 registers at the main checkout area. Also, as a rule, most Wal-Marts never have more than about 20% of these registers open at any given time. At 4:30 AM, they only have one register open.
– The unfortunate girl who is working that single open register will act more annoyed than usual if you attempt to purchase something at her register at 4:30 AM. In fact, if she’s like the girl I encountered this morning, she won’t even be standing at the register. She’ll be halfway across the store, griping to another employee about how terrible it is to have to man the only open register at 4:30 AM. And she’ll take her sweet time walking over to you once that other employee clues her in that you’re there.
So, that’s what I noticed is different about the world at 3:30 AM.
What about you? What kinds of stuff do you key in on when you’re out of your normal routine?
*This is facetious. I highly respect the Highway Department. Anyone can see that, given enough years, they can accomplishanything that would take a non-government entity several months to do.**
**But for real, I really do respect the people who work night shift for months in order to accomplish a road-building task at night so as to not to disrupt traffic as much as possible. Please don’t stop maintaining the roads around my house.