Midnight Oil: Capitalism and the Fine Art of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Well well you’re up late too, eh? I’d offer you a tea and a place to sit, but unfortunately we’re separated by the soft glow of the computer screen so a chat is all you get. I’m always up around this time. The world seems to stand still when it’s late and I can process my thoughts properly. Least that’s what I tell myself to justify this restlessness. You’ll usually find me reading a book, doing sudoku, picking fights or staring into space depending on my mood. To be frank, I also just don’t want the next day to start. The sooner I close my eyes, the sooner I begin the grind again and again and again until I’m dead. I’m writing tonight (or this morning I guess?) because I recently found out that this mentality is somewhat common and even has a name being “revenge bedtime procrastination”. So what am I getting revenge for exactly? I want my time back. I want to reclaim the free time stolen by capitalism and daily struggle, but in doing so I fuck up my internal clock and hate myself in the morning (more than usual at least). Weekends provide no solace either because those two measly days go by quickly and are often occupied by the sleep I denied myself during the week. This is no way to live.

There are simply not enough hours in the day and work sucks up roughly a third of them. More time is lost if you count prep, commute to and from your job and chores when you get home. The hours left to be a human being with hobbies, family, and friends are minimal. You can have fun and enjoy the embrace of loved ones when you’re dead and thus officially off the clock so to speak. Can’t let life’s simple pleasures get the in the way of our basic survival under capitalism. Rest and comfort don’t bring in the loonies, dollars, euros, pocket lint etc etc. We’re no good if we’re not working AND only in the ways that make the most profit for some parasitic suit upstairs. Think that’s just me talking? Ask any aspiring capitalist asshole their opinion about accommodations for disabled workers or neurodiverse workers, union rights, more days off or higher wages and you’ll hear nonsense equal or worse than that. It’s a cynical outlook regarding our working lives, but what else were you expecting out of me? I’m only here to serve as your guide at whatever the hell time it is in the morning right now. It’s not fun being a cog for the majority of the day hence why I am up and about during the hours that technically belong to me.

Lemme ask you something before you consider going to bed again for the 5th or 6th time. Don’t you think we deserve something better? Should work make us hate weekdays and fear the dawn? Should we not feel secure and satisfied with our jobs while also being able to properly enjoy ourselves outside of work? I feel like that would be pretty nice. Simps for capitalism will probably tell you that’s unrealistic or that you can easily get a better job with more benefits in the “free market” if you’re willing to pay the big bucks to go to school for a new degree/certificate (or go into debt again) and sacrifice what little free time you have left. I am actually going back to college in less than a month which was partially the reason I wanted to write this piece. I don’t want to continue my pattern of revenge procrastination forever and I don’t want you to have to either. It’s late. We should be sleeping and reliving past embarrassments through our dreams. God I have so many to cycle through. I want to enjoy work or at least get some satisfaction from what I do and I also want to live my life and enjoy what little time I’ve got on this planet. You deserve that kind of life too! How do we get it though in a world dominated by profits and the ever-present fear of poverty? Simple answer: fuck if I know.

Even the concept of laziness is problematic because we’ve conditioned ourselves to feel shame for “not doing anything” during so-called working hours. Deprogram yourself and relax without guilt.

Okay that’s not exactly true. We have ways to get what we want, but we’re just very disadvantaged in this particular arena. The easiest thing we can all do is just not shut up about worker rights for time off, vacations, better pay, benefits, maternity/paternity/bereavement leave and the sheer crappiness of a 40+ hour work week. Also, in regards to the 40+ hours statement (cause I know this is coming), there are definitely some people are out there with the “well I work 100 hours a week and I ain’t complaining” argument, but their exploitation is not the flex they think it is. They’re either proud about missing out on their lives or their lives are work which are both very sad states of being. We should constantly demand better and encourage our comrades and colleagues to do the same. You can also just do the minimum you are expected to do and not offer businesses more than you are worth to them. I spent too long trying to impress people who probably didn’t know my name and would fill my position immediately after I left. You don’t owe them shit really. Try to remember that. We take back some of our power by demanding better and not offering any more of our bodies and spirit than what we have to in order to survive. We could also just spark a revolution, take down big business and toss the people sucking us dry into the unforgiving wilderness, but hey that might be jumping the gun a wee bit. That *ahem* joke was just to get my assigned -insert any imperialist nation’s intelligence service- agent’s heart racing. I hope they got a kick out of that. Don’t you worry your little fed self, Agent Jones/Smith/Whatever. I don’t have that kind of influence…yet.

(Pictured) Me waking up tomorrow

I’m gonna head to bed now. You should too. I’m tired. You’re tired. We’re all friggin tired. Tomorrow’s another day and another chance for us to take our lives back. This sleepless revenge is bittersweet as our exhaustion is a boon to our corporate and political overlords. They would rather have us stubborn at 2 AM than protesting their bullshit at noon. If you’re futilely chugging coffee at your desk, you’re not kicking down their door and demanding wage increases or vacation time. Revenge bedtime procrastination might seem good on paper, but we’re only punishing ourselves in the long run. You and I aren’t going to be productive at this hour and deep down we know it. Go get a good sleep and think hard about what you really want out of work. Do you want to go through this slog forever? Speak up, encourage your colleagues and comrades, show solidarity with other workers, demand fair compensation and time off and only give your work/bosses what they pay for. Your freedom and sanity have always mattered more than their bottom line so don’t sacrifice either to impress some schlub. Dream now about how much they need you and how great our lives will be when we no longer need them. May that exquisite thought keep you cozy and I hope we both greet the sun with a newfound sense of purpose instead of dread. Thanks as always for reading and I hope to see you again. Solidarity, my friends.

X.S

3 thoughts on “Midnight Oil: Capitalism and the Fine Art of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

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