The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 18, 1987 - Page 7
There is a whole world out there that very few of us know about. It is called
the middle-of-the-night. I've always enjoyed staying up past usual bedtime
hours, as I am a self-induced insomniac. It is a time when I entertain my
most strangely profound thoughts. After spending many middles-of-the-night
wandering the short hall of my apartment, bored and alone, I began a quest,
seeking adventure and /or friendship. I knew that someone, somewhere, was
awake. And I found them.
I used to drop by once in a while just to look at the pickle loaf. My visits
became more frequent. I spent the better part of last semester hanging around
Stop-N-Go between 1 a.m. and sunrise. Stop-N-Go has everything. "I like to
buy my spaghetti sauce and my prophylactics at the same time," said one
middle-of-the-night shopper. Another customer asked me if I remembered
when the Klondike bars had bacteria on them. Well I didn't, but I did know
that I was becoming a Stop-N-Go junkie and I wasn't alone. I liked it.
All of my preconceptions were correct.
At Stop-N-Go there were drunks and
there were punks. Friends, loved ones,
V ..,*1truckdrivers, homeless persons and
K those visiting Ann Arbor for business
reasons all flock to Stop-N-Go having
the middle-of-the night blues. Most
middle-of-the-night patrons are regulars
who come in to read the latest issue of
National Enquirer or Weapons and
Tactics, and eat microwaveable pizza
next to the cash register. Some yearn
only for a cup of coffee.
'7 But for those of us who are normally
alert at 3 a.m, Stop-N-Go is more than
just a place to get some food in your
face. It is a vast landscape of visual
clutter. Ever blooming, there are always new items to arouse one's senses. Its
x squirky presence adds to the feeling of uncertainty during these middle-of-the-
night hours. After a night of abandonment I found myself feeling rather at
home and yet queasy at the same time.
The oddest notion of the middle-of-the-night is the ambiguous balance one
experiences between time and space. There is little concept of the passing
hours. During the daytime we are very aware of the changing light as the sun
passes overhead. By comparison the middle-of-the-night is just dark for a
prolonged chunk of time. Also peculiar is one's sense of the environment.
Although vast in scale, the a.m. world appears to be quaint because of its
dramatic under-population. Our perceptions tell us that time is timeless and
space is spaceless. This feeling is not drug induced. It is a hypnotic state
known as overexhaustion.
The biggest question in my mind is: when does "have a good night", turn
into "have a good day"? Debra DeRuyver, a middle-of-the-night Stop-N-Go
employee says "usually around 2 p.m., after the crowds die down." This
becomes a point of frustration for the night person who knows the night is
still young and that sleep is hours away.
In an attempt to form a connection between the day and the middle-of-the-
night, on my last photographic visit to Stop-N-Go I stayed until after the sun
had risen and the shifts had changed. The difference between the two was clear.
The day shift employees and their customers had entirely different goals ahead
of them--to conquer the new day. Purchases made at sunrise consisted of
morning papers and pints of orange juice. And the Puddin' Pie \No Doz crowd
disbanded into the morning haze.
I felt wrong and out of place. I knew I was unwanted and had no right to stay
and get chummy with the day bunch. I knew where I belonged. So I went
beverages and other goodies. home and woke up sometime past noon.
u kk 4
Cry 1Ee ., ) 4 6,
thirst. Bamroze works at a factory
aa . 3 dbm
Just before 2 a.m., herds of students crowd Stop-N-Go hoping to purchase various1
Ann Arbor resident David Bamroze drops by at 5 a.m. to quench
welding lug nuts. He also writes songs and drives a truck.