Late-night bars are the devil’s work, and Chicago has too many of them. As the clock creeps closer to dawn, bad decisions begin dressing up all dapper like and convincing drunkards that, yes, another shot and grabbing a frozen pizza on the way home is the way to go. The formerly spry, wide-eyed me used to be the first to suggest a 4 AM den of iniquity—one ready and willing to expedite crippling hangovers—when the night needed a pick-me-up. Now, I just can’t hack it.

And that’s OK, because in addition to having a delicate 30-year-old body actually complete menial weekend tasks, I’m also able to avoid the eerie, discombobulating early morning chorus of the songbirds. As if having the bar lights dialed up to tanning-bed-level brightness isn’t sobering enough, stumbling out the front door into 4:30 AM Chicago and hearing bird chirps bounce around alleyways and off apartment buildings is a dizzying kind of surreal.