Friday, December 16, 2022

Andy Young: Hibernate, then trade

By Andy Young

Ten hours after leaving for my place of employment in the wee hours of the morning, I returned home, utterly exhausted. Collapsing into a chair beside a west-facing window, I decided to treat myself to a chapter or two of reading before tending to my evening chores. Determined to make the most of the day’s remaining natural light, I opened my book…and promptly fell fast asleep.

Sometime later I woke up in complete and total darkness. Groggily groping my way to the nearest light switch, I cursed myself for not only having slept through dinner, but likely upsetting my sleeping schedule as well.

It was 4:50 p.m.

Seasonal Depression Disorder (SAD) starts affecting people like me every year in mid-December, when the part of the day we most look forward to after rolling out of bed in the morning is rolling back into it that night.

Societies that have existed for centuries at extreme upper latitudes have had generations to adjust to an annual spell of extended darkness; it’s in their collective DNA. But for those of us living where inland bodies of water don’t stay frozen from September through early May, driving to work in the dark and coming home in the dark for what seems like months is the draggiest of drags, particularly when the trip home generally concludes no later than 4 p.m.

While I’ve never been a huge fan of technology, I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. Whoever invented headlights that turn themselves off automatically after the car is shut off should be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, even if their creator resides somewhere outside the good old U S of A. Prior to that bit of inspiration countless drivers (well, at least this one) were annually treated, on some beautiful weekend day in April, to coming back to a motor vehicle with a dead battery. That was thanks to having started their car earlier that morning, reflexively turning on the headlights, driving to their destination, arriving there in broad daylight, and then forgetting to turn said headlights off.

Speaking of technology, I wish today’s innovators would take a break from inventing rocket ships for uber-wealthy space tourists, pint-sized vacuum cleaners, or talking computers that will play their user’s favorite Barry Manilow song (“Siri: Copacabana!”) and come up with something more useful.

Hey movers and shakers: how about conjuring something that will allow an individual to sleep from the day after Thanksgiving through April 16, and while doing so, banking what would be their normal hours of consciousness for use at a later date? Or even better, make it possible to bundle up the hours they’ve accumulated during their hibernation and trade them to some skiing/snowboarding fanatic who’d agree to sleep through their summers, bank those hours of unconsciousness, and then swap? I’d gladly give up December through March in exchange for some winter-lover’s May, June, July, and August. I’d even throw in all of April and early May if they’d give me September and the first half of October.

Were such a deal available, I’d make it in a heartbeat. Sure, I’d be giving up New Year’s Eve and Day, Christmas, and St. Paddy’s Day. But imagine living a year that included two Memorial Days, two July 4s, and two Labor Days. And by generously ceding the second half of October, I’d get to enjoy leaf-peeping season, but leave the drudgery of leaf-raking season to someone else.

Going winterless and having two summers every year is something I hope to dream about when I go to bed tonight.

At 5:30 p.m. <

No comments:

Post a Comment