Sunday 22 October 2017

Stefanie Preissner: Born in the wrong time zone

After a strange, chance nocturnal encounter in a New York coffee shop, a sleep-deprived Stefanie Preissner ponders those living in the world of the night

Stefanie Preissner from Our Father, courtesy of Maciej Staroniewicz.
Stefanie Preissner from Our Father, courtesy of Maciej Staroniewicz.

Stefanie Preissner

I was only fooling myself, closing the blackout blind across the vast window of the Ludlow Hotel on Manhattan's Lower East Side. I knew I hadn't a notion of sleeping. The human body is simply not designed to travel across time zones, and it seems no advances in science or homeopathy will change that. Melatonin and camomile tea laughed at me from the bedside table. It's 1am EST, and my body clock ticked cheerfully, still somewhere across the Atlantic.

Sulking with the failed holistic remedies, I popped in my headphones, zipped my bravery right up to the top and headed outside in the not-quite-dark that is night in Manhattan.

Apart from the drop in air temperature and sunlight, it's hard to tell that it's night in this part of town. It's buzzing. Homeless people push their carts, gathering the detritus left behind from the day. Young couples wriggle out of bars, tipsy and excited. Musicians carry large instrument-shaped cases on their way from one gig to the next, getting their 'sound out there'.

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