Rob Knight

2 am

September 20, 2006

There is something about 2am.

When I was 19, I worked at the UPS facility in San Jose. I worked the morning shift, which typically lasted from 3am to 7:30am. During the Christmas season, the volume of packages we moved through the building each day rose from 30,000 to near 60,000, so my hours expanded accordingly.

I was only 19, remember, so I could get by on minimal sleep. I usually walked out of my front door in a daze after just a couple of hours of sleep. I still don’t really know how I managed to get to work each day. Especially because I drove a Jetta with a manual transmission, requiring the kind of hand-eye-foot coordination that most humans could barely manage on such little sleep.

Growing up in suburbia, you never get any true silence. There is always a car moving, a jet taking off or landing from the airport, or some other modern noise-making invention to fill the air with the sound of human activity. Luckily, nature has a remedy. Fog.

Every so often, I would walk out that door at 3am to a foggy silence that woke me right up like a slap in the face. Fog blocked out 99% of suburban background noise and the silence was a thing to behold. You smell water in the air and as hard as you listen, you hear nothing. The city doesn’t exist, there are no other cars, people or animals. Just you, and fog. There was never a foggy morning that didn’t get my attention. They were like little gifts of calm before I went to work in a building that was filled floor to ceiling with conveyor belts. My love affair with 2am comes from those nights listening to the silence in suburbia. A silent 2am is something everyone should experience.