So we're into the leading edges of silly season here in Iqaluit. Sunrise this morning was 2:54 a.m and sunset this evening will be at 10:08 p.m. That means it essentially no longer gets dark in Iqaluit. And yes, I know there are people further north than Iqaluit who have already been experiencing this for weeks, but it's just settling in here right now.
I'm always surprised when people say how great this must be...24 hours of daylight. And I guess it is when compared to the alternative - nearly 24 hours of darkness. However, as I've said before, this much daylight can do as much damage, if not more, than all the cold and darkness. Especially if the stories I've heard about the carnage of this past weekend are true. That would involve a couple of brutal assaults, what sounds like a very disturbing rape (all rape is disturbing, this one went that much extra) and a murder and stand-off with the RCMP.
I've always said to people who ask me about moving to Iqaluit that the city is relatively safe as long as you're not stupid and that most of the bad things that happen, the person tends to know the other person. That offers some small, cold comfort, I guess. But I do wonder if the incidents of weirdness increase in the city as it gets warmer and the daylight ends for 24 hours. I suspect it does.
But I'm also reading from Facebook and on blogs about the trouble in getting to sleep. Or friends from down south asking how we manage. Honestly, and this may feel like jinxing things a bit, but we don't suffer too badly from insomnia because of all the daylight.
Granted, this could be because we have no lives and we're not out partying at midnight and stuff. However, for day to day living, it's pretty simple.
First of all, you absolutely need good curtains/blinds/heavy cloth/tin foil....whatever it takes to block out the light from your windows. We have heavy blinds and curtains in our apartment, but use whatever it takes. Oh, and by the way, it's not enough to have these up just in your bedroom. Some people seem to think that's enough. If you have heavy curtains in your bedroom and it's dark in there, then you will be fine.
However, that doesn't work. If you're sitting in your living room at 11 p.m. with the curtains open and enjoying all that late evening sunlight and then try to go to bed, well, that's not going to work. You've been soaking up all that daylight and your brain is going to be telling you it's about 6 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. That means it's essential to declare night in your apartment. Pull all the curtains closed and turn on lights around the apartment. Pick your own time, but we do it around 9 p.m.
It might seem silly to close curtains and turn on lights when it's still bright outside, but we swear by it. Cathy's normally in bed between 10:30 and 11 p.m., I'm normally in bed between 11:30 and midnight.
Now, if you're up late and off to the bar, a party or whatever, well, yeah, odds are you're going to be out of synch. And obviously this does nothing to drown out the noise from those outside at 3 a.m. playing street hockey or doing other assorted weirdness.
But for day to day living, this is what works for us. We're also lucky to live on the third floor of a secure building, which helps with the noise. You have to declare night in your home a couple of hours before you go to sleep. You do that, you should be fine. Otherwise, well, you're doing laundry at 2 a.m. and noticing the TV options are really crappy.
1. Last chance avenue - Ron Hynes*
2. I wanna be loved - Elvis Costello
3. From my own true love - The Decemberists
4. The sun doesn't like you - Norah Jones
5. Summer in the city - Regina Spektor