lovehate: In Defense of a 24 Hour Culture

Oh sure, I don't need a hamburger with a side of onion rings and a soft serve chocolate sundae at four in the morning, but I might WANT them. I might also need a new printer cartridge at 5am to print out a term paper that's due at 9. Perhaps I'd simply like to buy some stamps so that I could send a parcel to a friend in Spain, but need to do it during the "witching hour" because the contents of the package are under a Wiccan curse.

I applaud the fact that some of the businesses in my city are starting to respect the nighthawk and cater to the nighthawk's needs. Before continuing, I'll give credit to the convenience stores which started the tradition a couple of decades ago. Yours was truly the stuff of inspiration. But while your wares have expanded beyond what I thought was originally possible, there are only so many Ultra XL Chalices of Soda I can down in a lifetime. Also, the snack cake/refried beef torpedo conundrum is just too confusing to plan for.

There's one entire chain of supermarkets that's now open 24 hours a day, every day of the week. Of course that's incredibly useful if I'm feeling industrious and would like to actually shop, but often the late night craving is for something where I don't have to get out of the car. Somewhere there has to be a supermarket with a drive-thru that stocks only the essentials. I completely understand that a loudspeaker shout out for a hummus and a rotisserie chicken at 5am isn't going to cut it at a drive-thru window, but surely they can have some pop, chips, milk, and bread on hand so I don't have to by a week-old loaf at the Kwik-E-Mart.

In my 20s there used to be a 24 hour Taco Bell drive-thru near my house... OHHHH! Burritos at Dawn! (strangely enough, once considered by Sergio Leone as a sequel to A Fistful of Dollars). Now McDonalds has taken up the torch around this area, but Mickey D's is the last fast food place I want to consider. C'mon Wendy's, Harvey's, Subway, Dairy Queen! Get off your asses or the Nighthawk Alliance will start a daytime boycott... which is easy because we're not awake.

I've seen those Discovery Channel docs on Japan's crazy vending machine malls, where one can buy ANYTHING out of a vending machine. Why don't we have these places in North America? They'd be easy to staff. But I don't want some cheap-ass version of the Vendomart. I want to be able to buy ANYTHING. New car - check. New laptop - check. Hand-woven Armenian Bathmat - check. Homemade Perogies stuffed with Goat Cheese and Bacon - check. I'll travel to get there too. Just put two in every city and someone will be raking in my cash. They could also be at the hub of local hotels. When I pull into a town at 2am and am reduced to gas station culinary escapades, I get upset.

And that's another thing. Why do I have to look high and low in some towns to find a 24 hour gas station - it's the 21st frakkin' century! Would you rather I went back to a cart and left horseshit all over your streets?

If a casino can stay open 24 hours a day, with video surveillance, adequate staffing and ample well-lit parking, surely I should be able to find somewhere in any major town or city to buy a mosquito coil, a piece of sandpaper and a can of varsol to explore my McGyver-esque fantasies in a children's playground area... wait... maybe I've said too much... I should get home before the sun comes up.