Spring Returns – The New York Times
I like being up when it’s dark in the morning, moving around asleep in the dark, working and sipping coffee and listening to music without being distracted. I keep the lights off, which avoids visual noise. Outside, only the moon, perhaps a neighbour’s television flashing blue and green on the living room wall.
My preference for pre-dawn is not original, but it is deeply felt. I think of those deeply felt preferences, the little things we love and hate, and how each one is insignificant but, when taken together, they make up a whole personality.
I started joking with a friend this week about daylight saving time. When we “move forward,” she explained, it takes her weeks to adjust, to stop feeling rushed in the morning, to recover from having “lost” an hour. She receives this lost hour as a harbinger of summer, her least favorite time of year, its heat and humidity. I played the smug winner, reveling in my extra hour of morning darkness and its complementary hour of evening light.
I often come across this list of likes and dislikes from Susan Sontag, a quirky assemblage of the mundane and the extraordinary:
What I like: fires, Venice, tequila, sunsets, babies, silent films, heights, coarse salt, top hats, big long-haired dogs, models of boats, cinnamon, goose down duvets, pocket watches, the smell of freshly mown grass, linen, Bach, Louis XIII furniture, sushi, microscopes, large rooms, boots, drinking water, sugar maple candy.
What I don’t like: sleeping alone in an apartment, the cold, couples, football matches, swimming, anchovies, mustaches, cats, umbrellas, being photographed, the taste of licorice, me wash (or have me wash) my hair, wear a wristwatch, give a lecture, cigars, write letters, take showers, Robert Frost, German food.
Each item on its own could be considered a whim, but in the list there are clues to the person – a person who likes babies but doesn’t like couples, who likes the smell of mowed grass and don’t like the cold. (Another proponent of the vernal equinox, perhaps?) Absent any explanation, the meaning of the list is malleable.