There is something really weird that happens at 4 am. You take a busy, lively city full of many peoples and cultures, and no matter what happens, 4 am is a time when the city dies.
Since I’m home, I can visit with my friends once in awhile like I used to: I’d go over to my buddy’s place, where there are like 4-5 other people, and we’d play video game together. Once everyone was done at around 4, we’d all go home and sleep the night off.
The thing is, lately I’ve tried taking the busy streets home instead of the backstreets, which are normally bereft of life anytime past 9 pm. Since this change of pace, I’ve noticed and now figured out what my favourite time of the day is, and it’s 4 am.
Tonight, I took a walk home that brought me to a main artery street of my city, and I was astounded by the lack of anything. I took 3 minutes of my time to simply stand in the middle of a 4 lane road and dance and sing to myself, just to mock traffic that didn’t exist. When I finally started walking home, I heard beeps of changing lights halfway down the street, 3 blocks away. I heard the buzzing of street lamps, like angry bees waiting to be unleashed on all the soft, pink things that are under them during the day. The rustling of a leaf across the street, something I would never normally hear, is crystal clear at 4 am.
The lack of people is also a strange thought: no matter what, I’ve always been surrounded by crowds when walking around this city, and to finally come across a time when no one is around… it’s strange. It’s like I’m the last person on earth, and that I’m just stalling for time, pacing the city streets. The only thing missing is a pile of zombies and it’d be a damn good horror movie.
Not only is it strange to not have anyone else around me, it’s also soothing and relaxing. I don’t think I’ve heard such beautiful silence, only punctuated by beeps, rustles, and other night time noises you never hear during the noisy day. I don’t think I’ve ever been so free of annoying crowds and people who think that this city is theirs to walk all over. It’s nice to not be stuck behind someone you would rather punch in the back of the head, but can’t.
Lastly, there’s this feeling of complete serenity I get, like being the last man standing at the end of a long, tired fight that all the other fighters have gone home to lick their wounds. It’s like the silence after a huge battle, but much less unnerving and with a sense of peace and quiet.
It’s strange, but a dead city is a relaxing one, and I want to see it at least once a week. All the rest of the time, it’s a loud and noisy place with far too much going on for you to notice just how beautiful the city is for itself, rather than for it’s noise.