My darling husband has been pontificating lately about morning people (his people) vs. non-morning people, or, as I like to call them, my people. His theory is that it is better to be a morning person, because morning people only have to “deal with” non-morning people, whereas morning people have to deal with, well, all people.
I have told him that non-morning people wouldn’t have to deal with anyone if they would just be left alone. Problem solved.
I have learned this truth about myself: the time of day has nothing to do with it. It’s the waking that’s hard. If if sleep in, I still need space and time to wake up (though not necessarily “all of time and space.” Just, maybe, half.)
My solution to this is to wake up before the rest of the household rises. My alarm goes off at 5:30. This was working great as an “avoid all those talking creatures” plan. When my alarm went off, I would only hit snooze once or twice, so as to not annoy the morning person. Then I would get up, and there would be no one to see me bump into the wall in the hallway because my eyes won’t open all the way, or watch me stare at the coffee grounds I spilled on the counter, waiting for them to conga their way into the filter.
But things have changed. The Morning Person has been waking up and exercising. He’s been doing this for awhile, but he just ramped it up, and so now is waking up at, you guessed it, 5:30. He is an angel, who does not talk to me at 5:30 (a-n-g-e-l), but what he does not realize, what even I did not realize, was that the only way I could get out of bed so early was in an effort not to annoy him with my alarm clock.
He gets up at 5:30 without an alarm clock. He is up and out of the door before my brain can even process what is happening on my bedside table with the blinking and the ringing and isn’t there something I’m supposed to do now that I’ve done every day for the last how many years I don’t know I don’t remember how to count it’s too early.
My alarm is on my iPad, and for very specific reasons. I need a snooze that lasts no longer than two minutes, a clock that isn’t too bright, and one I could program to a delicate sound that still allows me to wake up from my deep sleep. For a while I had birds chirping, then I realized that the birds just slipped into and became a part of my dreams. So I wake up to the sound of church bells. Quiet church bells.
Even then, I still can fall back asleep and directly enter the dream I was just having, or, sometimes, start a new one. I dream exhausting dreams full of details that linger with me for most of the day.
It is fun, but it makes it hard to get out of bed. It’s like leaving a movie before it’s finished. (How will I ever know if I escape the Hat Thieves on the giant flying sea turtles?)
So instead of getting out of bed I play a game called “Find the Button.”
I squint through my practically blind eyes at the iPad and look for the blue fuzzy rectangle on the bottom of the screen. I push it. The bells stop ringing and a timer begins. I won this round of Find the Button! I feel so satisfied with this win that in two minutes when the timer ends and the bells begin to ring again, I decide to play another round. Again, I win.
I keep playing, because, frankly, I’ve never been so successful at anything. I am 10-0 at this point, and odds are the streak will continue. (Also, I have apparently unlocked Achievement Level “Counting,” which shows that all of this effort is worth it, right?)
Except now it is 6:00. The Morning Person is back upstairs and moving. He is waking up the daughter, and if I am not quick to get up, he will bring her in and put her in bed with me to “wake me up.” But who wants to leave bed when the cuddliest and cutest of the little girls is giving away hugs and smiles for free? Not I. And I know I need to get up.
So the next time the iPad invites me to play, I push the fuzzy red rectangle which stops the game, and I sit up, knocking my glasses to the floor. I stare at the vague maroon area at my feet that is our carpet and hope that the glasses will jump up into my hand. They don’t. I have to get down on my knees and find them.
And now when I leave the bedroom there is somebody in the hallway to see me bump into the wall. Someone is in the kitchen to watch me as I count, in Spanish, the scoops of coffee. I do not realize I am counting in Spanish until I reach cuatro and go ahead and finish with cinco, because, why not.
Still, later, I will consider the morning to be a victory, because I won today’s round of Find the Button, and, let’s face it, with a streak like that I am likely to play again tomorrow.