Everyone who has spent time with me after the sun goes down knows that I am not a night owl. Typically I like to be in bed between 9 and 10:p.m. and rise between 5 and 6:a.m. I wake up bright-eyed and chipper while the night owls in my family are barely tolerable before 10:a.m. It’s not that I’ve never burned the midnight oil. In fact, there was a time when I would just be getting started at 10:p.m. Those were my youthful clubbing years when cute guys and a crazy beat caused my eyes to open wide and my feet to strut their way across a crowded dance floor. There was the Classic Cat 90’s, The Point After, Mike’s Office and Bahama Mama’s. These were the clubs to see and be seen, and Southern California was the place to be. I managed to stay awake and energized (and even lose a pound or two) thanks to all that moving around. Often my friends and I would be famished after exerting so much energy. On those nights we would make our way to Denny’s or The Copper Penny or IHOP, where I would indulge in my favorite breakfast…a cheese omelet, home fries, buttered toast and a mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream, all after 2:a.m. before my metabolism turned on me and made me pay for such an indulgence. Sometimes all this happened on a Wednesday nights with boring office jobs looming in the morning light. My work place didn’t hold my interest when I was fully awake with all my neurons firing, so you can imagine how difficult it was to slog through the day when I was barely semi-functional.
Years later as a divorced mother of four, far from the disco sounds that had propelled me, I could barely remain awake as I tried to corral my high-energy kids into bed. Being a good mommy, I would give the younger ones their baths and read a bed time story when I was longing to get into bed myself. There was one book called Stone Soup that seemed to go on forever. It involved a hungry boy who, for reasons unknown, was far from home and sustenance, and had to use his wits to obtain a nourishing broth. I would often find myself drifting off to sleep while I struggled to finish that wretched tale for my wide-awake children.
These days all four kids are grown, and I’m a grandma. When the grandkids spend the night, they usually stay up later than me, especially the 11-year-old. You would think they’d sleep in a bit after being up so late, but that never seems to happen. As my eye lids flutter open with the first rays of morning, I know I better zoom into the shower before my five-year-old granddaughter utters those inevitiable words to me, as I wrap myself in a towel…”Grandma, I want pancakes.”
The other night I was in the dining area with my lap top, checking something out online, when I decided to listen to a few Youtube hits from back in the day…classic rock, old school R&B, and doo wop. Before I knew it, it was past my regular bed time. My yawning had ceased, and I was fully engaged, singing along with the music, and I realized the andedote to my inability to stay awake in the evenings was the music of my youth. All at once I was transformed from a sleepy dove to a rockin’ robin.
The Classic Cat closed its doors many years ago, but maybe I can resurrect it in my living room. May doo wop never cease, and make that omelet extra cheesy, please.