Midnight Oil Under 60/barrel.

I've never understood why so many places close at night while others do not. Certainly banks, real estate offices and corporate attorneys need not have office hours late into the night. I will also grant that hospitals, hotels, pharmacies, gas stations and Waffle Houses probably wouldn't make much sense if they weren't available 'round the clock. There are many establishments, some that do remain open well past regular business hours, that, like hospitals and Waffle Houses, might serve their clientèle better to be open at all times.

If I'm up all night, I might need a cup of coffee and I'll probably want one superior to what's available at Texaco or Gluttonous Gilby's 24-7 [TM]. Why aren't coffee shops of any quality open into the wee hours of the morning when they might be most useful? The Starbucks up the street is open until eleven at night but, whole truth told, I don't need a venti cup – o – fetamines at eleven. I'm perfectly wide awake at eleven. Three – thirty roles around; I need a pick me up and the choices from most all night establishments more resemble the oil drained from a dirty big rig than anything I would want to put in my gullet.

Clubs and bars, at least where I live, are legally required to close well before three in the morning. There used to be a handful of all-night clubs in my city but they've been forced out of business by fees levied upon them in exchange for the privilege of being open at the hours when people most want their services. If I'm not done partying at two-thirty, who is the city council to tell me, or the thousands like me that we have to go home or find one of the myriad of barely legal speakeasies in order to maintain our revelry?

I pay all my bills in cash. I don't trust and I simply don't like invisible money. I understand that it's the way of the economic world these days and that, one day, cash will be a once-was about which we'll tell our grandchildren but as long as I have the option of paying my bills in cash, I'm going to do so. Unfortunately, the number of places that I can physically pay for basic services, whether power, water or shelter is dwindling and the hours those few places are open are becoming shorter every year. Why aren't the offices for the power company and for my apartment building open all night? That would certainly make my life much easier. I know it would for a number of others. Let's throw the DMV in there while we're at it.

I understand why many restaurants are open late and even why some never close but answer me this, why are only shitty places open all night? I probably shouldn't say that. There are a scant handful of quality eateries that are open at all hours and I frequent most of them. However, when four in the morning rolls around, a disproportionate number of the available bistros will have fluorescent lighting, poly-laminate menus and will proudly declare that breakfast is “available anytime.” Why can't a few more quality houses of repast be open at the hours I choose to keep. I'm not asking for the rainbow room, I just want a few more choices that don't involve the words “diner” or “house” in their names.

Finally, in the words of Three Dog Night, “If I were the king of the world, I tell you what I'd do,” the place that would be open twenty-four-seven, three – sixty – five, the store that would never close, not even on high holidays, national observances or in the face of hugely inclement weather. In a perfect world the quintessential all night business would be the bookstore. I cannot count the number of times I've been up when only vampires and the people on infomercials are stirring and been out of books to read. Borders and B&N both close at eleven in my neighborhood and damnit, that's not good enough. I need Miller at midnight, Hemingway through the witching hours and Chaucer at dawn. I need to know that my mind will not be abandoned when the sun sets and the candles burn low.

Most people live humdrum, 9-2-5 lives. They're only interested that the bank is open for an hour after they finish work at the office, that their favorite restaurant is open when they want to eat in the evening and that they can fill up the tank on the way home before the nightly news so they won't have to wake up five minutes early tomorrow.

I don't live in that world. There are plenty more like me that aren't content with or that have never been allowed that place in the world. We want something else. We're not asking that the whole world keep our ours, just that we're not left with the economic effluvium of the service industry.

This is how I will make my fortune. I'm going to open the world's first all night bookstore/ coffee shop/ fine bistro/ one stop utilities center. Who's investing?

1 comment:

b o o said...

me. here's my first $1.

when i was in taipei for work, alota of "good " places were all nighters. i would watch some of my colleagues play indoor basketball at 2am & when they are finished, we goto a borders-like mega bookstore (mostly chinese titles though), followed by a hot cup of black & fierce coffee & plain hot toast at IS cafe (taipei's answer to starbucks then).

now back in sleepy singabore, most good places are closed after midnight, with the usual suspects of bars & 7-elevens open all night *sigh*

but i love my country, its safe, its clean, can't really complain.