Monday, January 9, 2012

The Wrong Side of the Bed

 For as long as I can remember, I have been useless in the morning. I have never been a morning person. In high school, I always let my brother shower first just to get those few extra minutes of sleep, or I would shower the night before ensuring many, many bad hair days. In college, I chose courses that were closer to a noon starting time and excelled in evening classes. I have always been a night owl, often getting a second wind just before midnight. I can remember leading a camping trip at a summer camp I worked out during college, stumbling out of my tent late, I mean like, I'm the last person awake late. The girls were already having breakfast and breaking down tents while I blindly walked to the picnic table to meet my co-staff. She watched me stub my tow, step on something sharp and nearly miss a hot cooling pan on a rock. As I sat down across from her while she sipped her coffee, having been up for a couple hours, she said to me, "Has anyone ever told you that you are completely useless in the morning?" No one had ever told me that, but it was a truth I knew deep down in my bones: I hate the morning.

My twenties were no different. I lied through every job interview I ever had when they asked me if I was a morning person and would be able to show up at 8:00 a.m. for a position I also would be commuting to from a considerable distance. Luckily I snagged jobs where my bosses were also not morning people and so when I showed up 10 to 15 minutes late everyday, it largely went unnoticed. Even now, I struggle with an 8:30 a.m. show time at work. Most days, I arrive at 8:35 a.m. and quickly shuffle in with students, parents, disappearing quickly into the fray like a blood-thirsty zombie only I'm not dead and I'm thirsting for caffeine.

At twenty-three, when traveling around the country with a friend, crashing on couches at floors, completely at the generosity of friends and friends of friends, my partner in crime would wake have to wake me up. She would even express concern about my rough mornings, suggesting routines that might make it easier. Even recently she sent me an article on "How to Become A Morning Person."

I have tried exercise, diet, earlier bed times, but no matter what I never wake up feeling refreshed or "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed." Oh no, I am more "fried-eyed and frizzy haired." It takes water on my face to open my dry eyes and an immediate shower to jolt my soul into the existence of the day. And no, I don't have sleep apnea. In fact, I wish I did have some common disorder that I could treat and make me magically jump out of bed, arms stretched ready and willing to greet the day.

I have tried sleeping with the shades open to see if morning light would help ease me awake. I sleep with two, sometimes three alarms, and I give myself snooze time, as well. On the weekends, I never wake before 9:00 a.m. and often times I can pull a 10:00er. Thanks to Mike I do not sleep in until noon which if left to my own devices would easily be my Saturday/Sunday start time. And not only do I almost always wake up feeling tired, (sometimes I fall asleep on the subway to work), a lot of times I wake up in a crap mood. From the hours of 6:00 - 9:00a.m., I am certified bitch. It has taken many humbling apologies to now apologize immediately when I snap some cranky diatribe at Mike in the morning.  Thankfully, he is pretty easy-going and can usually laugh at me as I scowl my way towards the shower.

This week has been particularly awful, because I have cut caffeine. In an effort to curb my anxiety, I took away my morning coffee which has made the start of the new year reminiscent to the Jack Nicholson scene in The Shining when "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"...minus the psychotic energy. Just the grouchiness.

I decide to write about this morning phenomenon and ask any of you night owl sufferers like myself how the hell you do it? How do I make my mornings a little less painful, a little less bitch?

1 comment:

Bill Lisleman said...

I'm not a morning person either. Sunset is better than sunrise.
But over the years I had jobs that started before dawn - UPS, paper delivery. I can do it but it's not my preference. I think some of it has to do with what you will be doing in the morning. I prefer to keep dreaming. I have some of the best ones then.