Sunday, November 05, 2006

Denizens Of The Night

When the Day People are safely a-bed, the lights are out and the shadows dance, it is the time when Night People come out to play. Late-night disc jockeys take to the road for the ride home; it can be on deserted streets with few other cars, but with your choice of radio stations skipping in from all over the country.

Newspapers have to be printed and distributed sometime; that "sometime" is in the middle of the night. Presses roll around midnight or so and the trucks (or cars) start taking the bundles out to the carriers' homes. Aside from the press crew, the insert and bundle crew (Mailing Room) are there all night, along with the truck and car drivers.

Shortwave radio stations are available anytime, but they never sound better than at night, especially late at night. The "utility" stations -- those that send reports in Morse code -- send out their messages until you are so tired the dots and dashes start running together and you can't make sense of it. It's the magic of the night.

I can remember, when I was younger than 7, being left off at home very late at night and watching the shadows through our oak tree. That was my first experience of being a denizen of the night. It was so late. It was probably about 9:00 or 10:00, but it seemed like three in the morning to me. I was hooked.