Tonawanda News


May 5, 2013

DUVALL: On being a night owl, quiet or loud


Tonawanda News — Sitting on my Buffalo porch without so much as a sound my first impulse was to call the police just so I could hear the sirens — hear something.

When you so regularly occupy those hours when other people sleep it feels like you get a bigger slice of the pie. During the day I’m just a guy sitting on a porch, no different from the guy sitting on the porch next door, or the woman pushing a stroller and tugging the family dog’s leash at every tree. I’m no different than the endless stream of bicyclists or joggers completing their daily treks.

At night when it’s quiet, when everyone else has surrendered to dreaming you’re the mayor, the president, the last man standing. Guardian of the night, a superhero or a villain, your choice. If no one else is watching, who cares?

I’ve long been sensitive to the stereotypes we night-lifers face. Sleeping until the early afternoon is a sign of laziness, a sin in this Puritan society built on productivity, bent on purchase.

I ask the 9-to-5ers a simple question: Are you in bed an hour after you get home from work? 

I just so happens there are people, in newspapers particularly, who burn the midnight oil so a newspaper can hit your doorstep (or in our case, a newsstand) in time for you to read with your morning coffee.

Much as I might wish — and some of the lazier practitioners of newspapering might believe — there is no such thing as a newspaper fairy. We sit here and do the work, night after night.

Most people with my title worked hard to get off the night shifts. Truth be told, I enjoy them. Not least of the reasons is because I have no desire whatsoever to join the 5 o’clock-watching, happy hour crowd.

I like nights. I like nights in my city. Sometimes I like them to be bawdy, boisterous affairs that go til dawn.

And sometimes I like them quiet, even silent. 

That means I live while others lay still. I say so much the better.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter, @EricRDuVall.

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