there are two 6ams that reside in their own separate universes. these two worlds, although parallel, dissect each other at one point every day but cannot be experienced simultaneously. those who reside in opposite paths have nothing to do with one another, and can only pass each other by at this daily moment in time.
I have frequented the 6am that you approach from the back end, behind the scenes. I often wondered what it would be like to appear before a brand new 6am, to view it as a beginning instead of the encroachment of the end.
I feel as though I am apart of a 6am secret club. we connect to each other just because we aren’t in our beds like everyone else at these late (early) hours. our paths are lit by fluorescent street lights and vending machines, while noisy crickets, cicadas and frogs chatter from their hiding spots. shutters of shops are locked tight. occasional low whispers and echoing footsteps are faint somewhere off in a pool of darkness. anyone who is moving around at this hour has something about them. insomnia, a problem, an “alternate lifestyle”. alternative to working during the day and sleeping at night. I like being out especially on a random weeknight. that’s when you meet interesting people. not that I go out of my way to talk to anyone especially, but I like to know that they’re there.
I enjoy night time. I always have. my favorite thing to do in the night is shop for groceries. it’s soothing, relaxing. no one is in my way. I can take my time. I can admire the lined shelves and the repetitive pattern of grouped colors and categories of food items. I can pretend the apocalypse happened and I somehow survived, and live among less people. I flock to 24 hour places because I like the option of doing what I want when I want. I don’t like to be limited to business hours of the folk who conduct their exchanges during the sunlit hours of the day.
the sun is too bright, too hot. I appreciate and enjoy the existence of the sun, but only filtered through windows/curtains/blinds, or when looking out from under a protective shaded sanctuary. when the sun is just appearing or just leaving is the most exciting times of the day. the sky is special at those times, forcing you to look at it and soak in the colored hues bouncing off the clouds. blue is my least favorite color.
eventually, we think to look at our phones to check the time. we already know it’s past 5am, because we see the sky is changing from black to blue. now people from the other universe are crossing our paths, and they begin their parallel 6am. I always feel like I have a new secret when I walk home, passing joggers and salary men. I think “while you were sleeping, I was awake. you slept through it all, the whole night. you missed out.” I get home and pass out while everyone starts their day and I make sure the sun doesn’t touch my skin.
I woke up at the parallel 6am the other day, to go to a photoshoot. It was a different world. I left the house and birds were chirping, the air crisp. I walked amongst working folk and early risers. I was now on their side, starting a new day instead of ending the previous. I tried to spot the secret night time society club members. I felt like a traitor. I didn’t have any secrets at this 6am, I was just going to start my day.
by noon I had been awake 6 hours and done so much. why does it feel like you’ve done a lot in the early hours compared to the later hours? why are these hours so different from one another? productivity only seems to count early on, while the latter half of the day slows down and is meant for something different. sometimes it seems like we are accumulating bragging rights about how sleep-deprived we are or how late we stayed up. great, we are all the kings and queens of shit mountain. I hope one day I stop treating early risers like squares, they deserve respect too. cool kids run the night but early risers get shit done.
both 6ams have their ups and downs. the sun up or the sun down.
all photos in this post were taken between the hours of 5am and 7am this summer.