It is the lonely hour at 5:00AM when one wakes up, ponders whether to rest in bed for another fifteen or thirty minutes or whether it would be better to get up now and scarf down a few butter crossiants before trying to get ready as quietly as possible (so no singing in the shower) lest one wake anyone else up. After preparing one’s lunch and bringing along a book to read during breaks and lunch, one goes off to work in the dark, hoping that the people walking their dogs wear bright clothing or don’t dash out into the road as one prepares to drive the way to work, glad that one remembered one’s keycard this morning so that one can go in and out of the doors unlike yesterday. One arrives to an office that is nearly empty, with only a few people busy waiting around for IT to show up and fix one of the inevitable technical glitches that seems to occur when people are moved from one desk location to another, as I have found out in each of the nine desk locations I have had so far.
It is the lonely hour in mid-afternoon, when a wife is wondering if her husband will pick up his car so that he does not have to drive his motorcycle in the snow that is supposed to come. I sit along at a computer in the IT department pulling reports that will not pull on my own computer, looking through them to try to find any anomalies that might be worthy of investigation or bringing specifically to the attention of others. I sit at an IT computer that has way more privileges than my computer, but I do my job while knowing the trust that others are placed in me. I wonder how people at work, just ordinary people, can know me well enough to know that I am conscientious and not inclined to mischief or evil, and recognize that I act for the long haul, not just for the moment. Then, after the reporting program has been repaired, I return to my desk to run some more reports, staying so late that it becomes dark again as my coworkers leave for home, making it a lonely and nearly barren office once more.
It is the lonely hour when one drives home alone at night, with one’s car being tossed from one side of the lane to another like a leaf in the wind, driving over branches and the parts of trees that have fallen in the fierce gale winds. With nerves frayed I try to keep the car as steady as possibly, only slightly less wracked with nerves as the lonely hours driving home from Redmond, hoping merely to make it home safe so that I can type my thoughts out and then fall into a deep and hopefully peaceful sleep. Yet it is not that late at night, that my eyes should feel so droopy. Yet the road is lonely, as all roads are, even under the best of circumstances. For whether we are a single pair of headlights cutting through the dark night or whether we are caught in the grips of a traffic jam, the problem is the same: as drivers we are merely strangers either close together or far apart, and some of us cannot bear to be close to strangers, but must at least try to make them friends or friendly acquaintances to feel comfortable at all.
It is the lonely hour at four in the morning when one has awoken from sleep with a nightmare, torn between wanting to understand the strange collection of people in it, and whether the attack of a poisonous brightly colored snake means what one thinks it means, or whether one should try to breath deeply and enjoy another hour of sleep before having to get up for good. And yet it seems futile to sleep, for one’s veins course with adrenalin and one has hardly any time to find deep sleep again, making for another night that does not prepare one well for the day ahead. And yet such lonely hours make up a day, where one wonders if just a bit fewer thoughts running through the mind might be, in fact, a very good thing. Oh well, such is the life, I suppose.