I am on sabbatical and could easily do as I see fit, namely work in the morning and evening, play in the afternoon, and sleep at night. In reality I work in the afternoon and night, play in the evening, and sleep in the morning. Notice how I choose to work at the hours of low biorhythms. See how I am getting things done, but with more difficulty than I might, and with far less health than is easily available. Note also that I am rebelling against the unrealistic possibility of Puritanism — get up in the morning and work! — and protecting unnecessarily against the possibility of being interrupted by working in the dead of night.
I have said it before: I was always told that women should have an ethic of suffering, and academics too, but I did not believe it. In Reeducation we were not expected to suffer, either, but we were expected to be impaired. To be at one’s full powers, to enjoy full health, was to engage in the sin of denial; one had to be stopped or struggling. Not being in a position to stop or to risk permanent injury I was careful not to get too extreme, but I did take some measures to limit myself, so I could become more modest and hampered, as one was to be in Reeducation.
Working at odd hours like this was an excellent strategy toward this goal. It enables you to work less efficiently, so that you are less satisfied. It interdicts much exercise and sleep, and it hampers housework and play. You thus have a poorer return on your efforts than you would if you did not engage in sabotaging them. This is very important because then Reeducation cannot call you arrogant because you are getting things done, or selfish because you are enjoying your life. Most importantly, it cannot say you have more control over your life than you deserve.
As I say, in Reeducation you could be either hampered or stopped; if anyone pointed this out to Reeucation it would respond that actually, it had freed us to “do as we wanted.” Except that in Reeducation, most things were forbidden. But in Reeducation I picked up some habits I have not yet fully dropped.