Forgive me if this post lacks coherence. It’s 5:12 in the morning and I can’t fucking sleep. I’ll spare you and myself the details. There’s a certain point in the course of attempting to sleep when one must realize one must give up; when one might be doing oneself more harm trying to sleep than by getting up and occupying oneself. So I hopped out of bed, made a pot of coffee, and began a day’s worth of laundry. I’m in for one long-ass day tomorrow. Or would that be today?

Normally, I define the division of the days by the time that I wake up. More specifically, that’s when days begin. If I retire to my bed at five o’clock, then that time is still the property of the day the night started on. Even if the sun’s coming up. Because days don’t end, in my book, until I’m in bed. Days have no definite ending. I might say a day is over the instant before the next day begins, but that seems fairly arbitrary. Of course, it’s all fairly arbitrary. My definition, if not projected strictly solipsistically but applied more universally individually, means that my Fridays can have many hours of overlap with your Saturdays.

However (I start a lot of sentences with “however”), nights like tonight (and there have been very few of these for me) are hard to define. When am I done with Thursday? When do I have a Friday on my hands? Considering I was thoroughly convinced that Tuesday the 21st was a Friday, compounded with the current topic at hand, I’m pretty certain that I will be absolutely clueless as to what time or day it is for the next couple days and will look upon calendars and clocks with skepticism.

Others obviously have different definitions of the division of days. This can be pointedly witnessed after midnight on a Sunday evening in Provo, Utah. Provo, as I may not need to tell you, is the bastion of Mormonism. Salt Lake may be the headquarters, but the wonderfully clean streets of Provo ooze with the ubiquitous presence of Mormonism. Mormons, generally speaking, take the whole Sabbath day thing quite seriously, if somewhat bizarrely. Friends tell me of school trips where the kids who would actually go into convenience stores for a doughnut or a Fresca would be paid by the stricter Mormon kids to get them something. When I worked at a book store across the street from Salt Lake’s Temple Square, I would have Sunday Conference-goers browse the shelves between sessions and put books on hold, saying they’d be in the next day to buy them. They wouldn’t actually exchange monies, but they would “shop.”

I’ve never known a Mormon who cuts short Saturday night festivities simply because his digital watch beeps to let him know “SAT” is now “SUN.” Theoretically, this follows my aforementioned model. However, come 12:01 a.m. on what is now “MON,” Provo’s Denny’s (and I’d assume other late-night eateries) become bloody hopping. It’s no longer “the Lord’s day” and one can feel free to engage in all the transactions one wishes. This is a very literal defining of days; this presents an interesting dichotomy.

While writing this, I’m left to wonder: if someone were to wake me up with a phone call at 3:00 a.m. when my computer’s calendar reads Thursday, would I grunt that it was “three on a Wednesday night” or “three o’clock on a fucking Thursday morning”?

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About John D. Moore

Writer, cartoonist, filmmaker, and student of Japanese language, literature, and cinema at the University of Utah.

One response »

  1. Thirdmango says:

    As someone who constantly treads those time waters, I am of the sort who would always divide my days by when I have fallen asleep, for right now I still believe it to be tuesday night at 3:30 in the morning. Ha Ha. I’m going to keep it as I originally wrote it there. Now I too am confused. Damn You Vincent! You’ve made even me confused, now I must go to bed on this early wednesday night.

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