Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wakey wakey!

You know what I don’t like very much?

No, Nora, please tell us! Which of the multi-faceted and variegated things you don’t like very much could you possibly mean?

Well, adoring public, now that I’ve gathered enough waking hours to coherently write a sentence, I will tell you. I don’t like mornings!

I’ll start by saying that I’m a night person, as just about anyone who knows me will tell you. My ideal sleep schedule in college was 2 AM–10 AM. I am quite witty by the time 7 or so at night rolls around. I have been known to experience brilliant revelations at midnight, and not even all of them are alcohol-fueled.

Since moving to my new apartment, my mornings have marginally improved. My bedroom window now features a lovely view of the house next door surrounded by trees, rather than the top of a parking garage. The sunlight now comes right through the window, which is a nice way to wake up every day. Except when it’s drearily foggy and overcast. Except when the sun guilts me awake me by saying, “Dumbass, get out of bed already—it’s 11!” Yeah.

Mornings have historically proved difficult times for me. Though I did used to wake up at 6:30 prior to college—sometimes even 6 for morning sports practice—alas, I have not maintained this skill. I did sign up for an 8:30 class freshman fall…but it transformed into an 11:30 one by some scheduling quirk, and I’ve never looked back.

I’ve tried various ways to cope with mornings, none of which have fully succeeded. Coffee helps, but you have to get up to make it or buy it, at which point you have already passed the worst stage of waking. Listening to music is the most effective solution I have found. For much of my senior year of college I would wake up, take a shower, then get ready to the tune of several songs by ABBA—a ritual so ridiculous it would make me laugh and cheer me up. I don’t do that on a regular basis anymore, but would like to take this opportunity to give you a sampling of songs I have listened to in the morning lately: Roxanne, Take On Me, Eye of the Tiger. My taste is great before I’m sentient. Maybe I’m reverting back to the comforting sounds of an ’80s childhood.

I should note, optimistically, that my processing time for mornings is getting a bit better. Once, back when I was working at the venerable bookstore, I timed how long it was from when I woke up to when I felt I could utter a coherent sentence. The answer? About three hours. Nowadays, I have got it down to an hour or so—at least, the coworker I talked to yesterday morning at 8:45 assured me I was doing all right. I could, like, um, put, uh, words. Together. And stuff. I hope that my continued 9–5 employment will aid me in the quest to be coherent in the mornings, and that one day I will bound brightly out of bed ready to speak in the full (and convoluted) paragraphs I can manage at more civilized hours, for example, 1 AM.

Until that glorious day, maybe I’ll reinstate the ABBA.


  1. I set my alarm way earlier than I intend to wake up, and press snooze several times (I have to get out of bed and walk across the room to press it, then go back to sleep). It helps me wake up gradually. Today I tried turning on all the lights to make the room really bright before going back to sleep, and it seemed to help. Plus, to continue on the caffiene theme, I've been drinking espresso as well as my usual tea. I'm averse to anything more pretentious than regular coffee, but it's tasty.

  2. I am strongly opposed to the insistence of morning-people that we all be morning-oriented. I think that noon is a perfectly respectable time to wake up, and that the bias promulgated through our culture by such morning-people against having breakfast at noon in your pajamas on a thursday is horrible.

  3. K, I actually get up when the alarm gets off, though that is probably the only positive thing to be said about my waking habits.

    Kit, I agree. Breakfast at noon in your pajamas on Thursday is excellent.

  4. Maybe you should be an astronomer; they have crazy hours. You took Astro 1 or 3 or something, right? That should be enough preparation.

    I tend to like mornings, but only when I can do what I want with them. Now I have 9 AM classes, which means that getting up early is a necessity rather than a choice.

  5. As someone manning the 9-5 shift, I have the good news that while it does get slightly easier as time goes on, I have never seen anyone reach the "bound brightly out of bed" stage though.

  6. Emma, just clicked on your website and saw the picture of Swat and it makes me happy. Too bad I'm not a very good astronomer. After Astro 1 was over, my mom called me to tell me my final exam had been mailed to our house and I got a 114. Out of what? I asked a bit skeptically. If I recall correctly, the answer was 167.

  7. I still have shots of horror when I think about the days I accidentally woke you up early. I'm sorry!

    Also, I've sadly continued down the path of being a morning person. We need to switch careers, because here no one needs to wake up before 9 and I often can't go out late with my friends because I get tired at 11.