I woke up at 10 today. I wish I could tell you that I wasn’t feeling well, or that I was drugged, but the fact of the matter is that I sleep really late. Apparently, it’s frowned upon, especially when I arrive at work yawning with sheet marks embedded into my forehead. I love sleep! Why does that provoke outrage in everyone who discovers this factoid about me? I’m a night owl and don’t enjoy early mornings in the least bit.
Mornings are not my finest hour.
When I whine to my sister, Jennifer, about the harassment I receive regarding my late morning awakening, she simply states: “Well, everyone knows that you’ve always been a miserable slug in the mornings.”
“Harsh!” I insist. “I don’t even converse with anyone before 11 so how would you even know?”
She continued: ” You have been this way since the Jurassic Period. Remember you had that bizarre morning ritual when we were kids?”
What my sister refers to is the strange plan I hatched as a child to guarantee more sleep in the mornings. Even now I’ll do absolutely everything I can the night before just to harvest extra snooze time the next morning. But nothing matches the peculiar custom I instituted as a 6-year-old.
In first grade, without my mother’s knowledge, (although I’m not sure how), I’d get completely dressed the night before school, and sleep perfectly poised and clothed under my blanket, almost corpse-like, so I wouldn’t wrinkle my ensemble. I would put on my tights and Buster Browns, my slip, my dress — everything. I believe we can categorize this peculiar behavior as “adorably eccentric.” Whatever. I bought myself at least 12 extra minutes of deep sleep each morning. I call it ingenious.
Or, perhaps she was referring to my other, equally odd morning proclivity. At about age 9, upon awakening for school, I’d proceed to the bathroom to pretend to wash-up and brush my teeth. I would then lie down on the bathmat, use a towel as a blanket and fall asleep for another 10 minutes! A little pre-school nap, if you will. I only woke up when the pounding on the door from my five siblings was so intense it ruptured an eardrum.
A productive, civil morning for me requires divine intervention at the altar of Saint Folgers, and a force of nature defined as four-plus cups of coffee, a Frisbee sized, carb-loaded bagel with a chaser of diet Dr. Pepper and no conversation for at least an hour. Unless someone dies, and then only hand gestures.
Don’t get me wrong. I wish I were a morning person. It just isn’t how I’m hardwired. I admire my husband’s pre-noon pleasantness. Maybe “admire” is the wrong word. Maybe despise is more like it. (He never gets the “no talking” morning memo). He barges into the kitchen every morning and booms: “How we doin’ today?!” The happier he is in the morning, the more cranky I become. The kids think he’s great. He’s not scowling or snapping phrases like: “Look, if the waffle is still frozen, just bite down harder! What’s the big deal?!” His morning ritual consists of waking up, and enjoying the newspaper and coffee — pre-golf. No wonder he’s perky. He’s leaving for 15 hours. (Because, as he says, “that last hole takes hours.”)
Maybe every morning I should tell Professor Perky Pants I need extra time in the bathroom. I’ll just take a little nap on the floor with a loofah as my pillow and de-puff my eyes with a few used tea bags while mainlining coffee.
Hey, maybe this could be my finest hour, after all.
Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three, a librarian and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life.