In college, I was a...scattered individual. Since becoming a more focused, or perhaps coherent is the proper word,* I have either lost the desire or need to attend late night visitations to the wildebeest carcass, or gained the ability to find dead wildebeest wherever I roam and regardless of the hour. Since I am on my second pot of coffee, I doubt that even regular "readers" understand what I mean when I talk about wildebeest, but any regular "viewer" of Animal Planet will understand. Clearly, I am talking about eating pancakes at four in the morning simply because you want some maple syrup, or you have perhaps more sinister motives.
In the days shortly after leaving the hallowed halls of learning, I longed for a return to the clarity of pancakes consumed in the hours between dusk and dawn. I sought out fey circles and other shrines to the gods, followed other strung-out seekers in a communal quest for late-night, grease-induced visions. Despite all attempts to reach that odd plane of mental and physical union of process that was once achieved with ease, I remained lost and listless. I could not regain my impetus for inquiry. I drifted thus, hungry and syrup-deprived. I wandered the country. Penniless and desperate, I eventually made my way back to the Manor and suffered the tender ministrations of my parents until I could stand and walk once more.
I was grateful for their help but anxious to be moving again. A lifetime of travel has left me unfit for settlement for periods longer than one or two seasonal cycles of our lonely planet. I moved on, and took residence in an underground hovel. It was there that I began to suffer the full withdrawal from my former habits. During the agonizing hours of the night, the cravings for sweet syrup and fluffy griddle cakes pounded through my being and shook me to the core. I lay awash in pain. As the months ground slowly on, I found that I could sense that missing clarity floating just out of reach, just behind the next door, on the edge of memory. In a still, cool, fall night, I finally grasped that strange and wonderful process of mind while strolling the empty sidewalks. There was no hunger within, no maple syrup on my chin to guide my vision. There was only the solitude of a city sleeping while I and perhaps others walked the barren alleys and avenues. Since then, I have been able to summon this inspiration when desired, and I am better for it, though I doubt the world would agree.
There are many other reasons for visiting the IHOP or profane IHOP-equivalent at such an early, or late, hour. Perhaps you have an allergy to the food offered by your institution. Perhaps you are an insomniac. Perhaps you have a term paper due and need some coffee and carbs. Perhaps you really appreciate Mrs. Butterworth in a way your friends would never understand, should they find out. Perhaps you have a wager about the number of teeth the waitress has. Perhaps you feel a need to have every menu item once in a semester, due to some bizarre form of gastric OCD. Perhaps you have even stranger, eldritch reasons for visiting an Interdimensional House of Pancakes.
I might have said too much. I can feel the influence of weird energies on my mind, and I think I may have given the beast too much food yesterday evening. The crickets do not sing, for the hungry, hairy beast hunts in the dark. Be wary.
* Condensed? Concentrated? Distilled? Aliquoted?**
** Now that there is a truly old inside joke.