Let’s start at the very beginning. Dark noon. A novel by Tom Calvin. A 2015 film. A Danish watch company.
It’s not that deep, folks. Midnight. It’s a quirky way of referencing midnight.
And it’s not even remotely original. The first time I heard this phrase was in New York City at the Jekyll & Hyde Club in 2007. (Yeah, like 10 years ago.) I was there as part of a senior trip for show choir and thespian students. This particular restaurant is known for what you would call its audience interaction. Essentially, you eat food like a normal restaurant, but instead of wait time, there are actors who interact with you and (hopefully) entertain you.
My table engaged with two actors. One, unfortunately, was a dud. But the other picked up the slack and was making us laugh the kind of laugh that makes your cheeks hurt. At one point, he began teasing our single teacher/chaperone and suggested that they meet at midnight to requite their forbidden love. “Meet me at dark noon,” he said in an exaggerated, British literature accent. It was a hoot and a half, and I will never forget the first time I heard it.
It seemed so seductive to me. Not just because of the way it was used, but because it brought a new way of looking at something so taken for granted. Midnight has forever been known as 12:00am. Only ‘midnight’ is spooky or romantic or somehow the magical turning point in an elaborate story about gremlins or vampires. Midnight is a mysterious, unknown time. However, ‘dark noon’ has a funny kind of familiarity to it. It suggests, “You know noon, but it’ll be dark instead.” It makes the night an accessible place. It makes the darkness and emptiness and unknown an accessible place.
Since then, I have integrated dark noon into my regular vocabulary. As a self-proclaimed night owl, it speaks to me on the level that “fourth meal” does. It is a term of endearment to the night and to a lifestyle that only the offbeat, like the eccentric actor in a top hat, might appreciate. Dark noon is the place between days. It is the simultaneous end and beginning of them. It is when things turn back into pumpkins. When people kiss in the new year. When all legal documents and digital systems are cataloged differently. And birth certificates deem your astrological fate. It is what we said would start Y2K. Dark noon, for me, is the epitome of transition. It is a metaphor for all that we must let go of and move toward. And yet it is also a place of stagnation, a deep breath or pregnant pause between hours that otherwise round the clocks without question. Those daily dark noons are the hairline cracks between days. And in the words of Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
I invite you then to meet me in those places where cracks exist. Explore with me those angsty parts of adulthood, identity, trends, and daily living. Savor the imperfections. Demystify the pain or wonder and reframe it into something accessible.
Meet me at dark noon.