Thursday, March 01, 2007

not for all the jewels in the crown

When I was little, the aim was always to stay up as late as possible. Some evenings if you sat really quietly watching the TV without moving then no-one would notice you were there and it was possible to make it to 9 o'clock. Sometimes it was possible to sneak downstairs again; though mainly that was my brother's trick: anyone would think he couldn't get a word in while I was awake. As I got older one of the attractions of leaving home was the possibility of choosing my own late bedtime, and I clearly remember the first time I stayed up all night, watching the boxing with my saxophonist friend and listening to BB King when the TV ran out. It became a regular wander up the road to his house, sitting on the sofa knowing that there was someone to talk to as late as I wanted.

When I began to teach regularly I would at first fall into bed as early as 8.30, exhausted by the demands of my job and frustrated by its power to push me back to a bedtime earlier than most of the children I was teaching. As the years went on my stamina and therefore my hours awake after work increased, until I am now capable of staying up with other adults; and socialising, even.

Last night I crawled up the stairs at 9pm, excited by the prospect of a couple of hours of extra sleep. When did this happen?