More often than not, I find myself staring at the glowing green of my alarm clock, waiting for it to slip from middle-of-the-night into Time Purgatory, that hour between 4 and 5 a.m. If you find yourself awake at this hour, you're part of a special club, one with three distinct branches. There are those who are just slipping into bed at that hour after a feverish night of who-knows-what. There are others who are just getting up, because they have a hellish commute or they're baking your bagels and brewing your cuppa. And then there are the folks like me who are, well, just AWAKE in those wee hours of the morning.
Seeing the time turn over is part of the ritual. Suddenly you're transported to a place few people inhabit. The Time Purgatory is a weird space, not exactly normal, because it's really not a regular time to be wandering about. In a house like mine, with paper-thin walls and very few doors, there are very few acceptable 4 a.m. activities. Sometimes, in sheer desperation, I turn down the brightness on my backlit screen and reach out to the other Purgatorios out there. Sometimes, I stare out the window and do some of my best critical thinking. Sometimes, I just close my eyes and sigh. *sigh*
There's a poet named John G. Rives who delivers a brilliant and amusing TED talk on some surreal coincidences surrounding 4 a.m. I for one am a believer. Strange things happen at this hour of the day... I just wish I weren't awake for so many of them.