At home, you kick off your shoes, sit down to enjoy a long drink. Maybe you have a bath in an attempt to quieten the music in your head. You eat a pear, savour the smoothness of it. You make some toast. You have another drink. It gets late.
You're tired out but wide awake.
At some point in all of this, you ask yourself if you should just stay up, thinking that these long peaceful hours could help you write that piece you were working on. Or finish reading the book that seems to have been squeezed out of your busy days, the one that has thumped to the floor each night in bed, as you and it gave in to gravity. You could Skype overseas friends who will be surprised to hear your call in their morning or in the middle of their day. You could stay up and see in the dawning of tomorrow.
And usually, after my late night drink and bath and staring into space sessions, I do none of those things. I just give in and go to bed. Except tonight feels like a whole different kind of gig.
Yes, it's the Brighton festival - for 23 days of May. I'm full of gigs and concerts and readings and exhibitions and good company and wonderful times. I've had way too many late nights and have got up and worked the next day, and been busy with my creative work. I can still hear tonight's gig playing in my head - the wonderful Rokia Traore who I heard live for the first time.
But the difference tonight is that the counting has started for our General Election, and for once in a long time, there seems to be a sense of optimism, dare I say it, even excitement about politics. Reason being, we might be on the brink of electing a green MP here in Brighton and if Caroline Lucas succeeds, she will be the first green MP in the UK. A bit of history.
All my late nights are leaning on me and I know I won't make it til 1 am, never mind until dawn. But I would love, right now, a direct line to the counting hall that will wake me in time to hear that wonderful cheering when it happens.
Ps - AND after a few hours sleep, I was watching a pale blue dawn as the results were announced at 5.52 am. She has WON IT!!!