You may have noticed that whenever something “bad” happens in a movie – a prowler breaks into a house, a murderer goes on a rampage, someone’s car breaks down on a lonely road, etc – it’s almost always 3 in the morning. There are often cute little camera shots of a digital alarm clock or a car radio stating that it’s “2:59” or “3:01”, or within a half hour either direction. The 3 o’clock rule is also true in songs. Lyrics that are sad or scary or depressing (or indicate that the person is lonely and drunk, as the case often is) happen around “3 in the morning”.
Maybe I’m the only one who’s noticed this, and you all think I’m crazy. That’s fine. You’ll begin to notice it now that I’ve brought it to your attention.
I don’t know who decided which hour was the hour of evil/horror/sadness/depression, but it makes sense. 3am is the time when the smallest number of people are awake in a given time zone. Unless it’s the weekend (or even if it is), virtually nothing is open. Partiers have been forced to wrap up for the night or move their fun to a private place. Night shifts are ending and the exhausted workers are heading home to crash into bed. Even night owls start to feel twinges of sleepiness around 3 (whether or not they’ll admit it is another matter), and the early birds are enjoying their last blissful hour or two of sleep before rising for the day.
An unwritten rule says the 3 o’clock hour is a time of transition. No one makes plans to do things at 3am, no one particularly looks forward to 3am. And why would you? If you’re not asleep, you’re somewhere in the process of switching from ‘on’ to ‘off’. Our bodies don’t come tuned to be awake or active at 3am. In such a late/early hour (and really, which is it?), after the neon lights have been shut off and before the sun arrives, and without any conscious thought processes to acknowledge or cling to, everything we feel and think and see becomes just a little bit uglier.
Tonight, I ran across a passage that blew my mind – and thus inspired this mini-blog.
Quick aside: Stephen King is one of my many obsessions in life, and for good reason. He sees/feels things that so many people either don’t see/feel or (more likely) choose to ignore. His mind wanders to places that most would never think of letting themselves go, and the result is always something beautiful or brilliant, in its own twisted/dark/taboo way. He will be the subject of his own blog someday, but until then:
“At three in the morning the blood runs slow and thick, and slumber is heavy. The soul either sleeps in blessed ignorance of such an hour or gazes about itself in utter despair. There is no middle ground. At three in the morning the gaudy paint is off that old whore, the world, and she has no nose and a glass eye.”
~from ”Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King, copyright 1975
I can’t possibly add anything to that.