I think that this post at Hyperbole and a Half sums it up quite nicely.
Often, when I find myself up past 2am, hoping to either gain the clarity of the ages or just finally fall asleep, I start thinking that this should be my productive time. I’m up! I should do my taxes, finally watch that French documentary that’s in my Netflix cue, or get to writing my ever-unwritten novel. If I’m going to be up, I might as well do something!
Well, here are some things I’ve done tonight.
- Read some online comics I’ve already read.
- Watched 3 episodes of Lie To Me on Netflix (I love you, Tim Roth).
- Played a video game released in 1997
- Not slept.
I don’t know what the allure is to stayed up late. There was a point (several hours ago, of course) where sleep seemed like a legitimate answer! You’re tired, says the Brain, but you’re not quite tired enough to go to sleep yet. Hey, instead of laying in bed, why don’t you stay on your computer just a little while longer! Yeah, that’s the ticket!
As I’ve said before, what the Brain says, and what I actually should do are often two different things. Some people have trouble reconciling the heart and brain; I have trouble with my brain making incorrect conclusions.
Real logic: You’re kind of groggy, so why don’t you lay in bed, watching some TV, and see if you can go to sleep?
Evil Brain logic: You’re kind of groggy, so overstimulate yourself on media!
Do you see why my brain and I aren’t quite in sync? He’s not a bad guy; he means well. He’s just hopped up on the internet, which is basically digital crack to my system.
The real kicker, though, is that he doesn’t even let me do what I want to do. Ok, he wants me to consume media like I’m a small Japanese man eating hot dogs on the 4th of July. Fine – I’ll play your game. I have at least 50 articles on various awesome, substantial topics that I’ve saved for just such an occasion. I’ll win this battle y– http://www.facebook.com. My fingers type it before my brain even has time to register it. Have you ever had that problem? It’s a scary thing; a total disconnect between what the active part of your brain wants to do and what the juiced up part of your brain thinks it should be doing.
Is writing this blog post just another method of feeding that part of the Brain? Probably. But this will at least give me some sort of documentation when I do a groggy, half-conscious post-mortem on how the evening transpired. Maybe this will be my letter from the future, furiously scribbled by Marty McFly and pressed into the unwilling hands of Doc Brown. You will be up till 2am this day! Do not open the link to Wikipedia! Do not start opening tabs until you’ve connected a chain from “Edward the Confessor” to “Elections in Nepal!”
Either that, or I’ll be gunned down by Libyans for stealing their plutonium. I’m so out of it at this point, everything in the above paragraph is starting to sound moderately plausible.