Saturday, August 30, 2008

Biological Clock ...

I am very much my mother's daughter. She has given me, wittingly and unwittingly, biologically and socially, many, many gifts. Many people comment on how much we look alike. Many people comment on how much we sound alike.

When she was a baby, my mother used to tell me, her mother told her that she cried like a foghorn.

It wasn't until I was born and my mother heard me cry for the first time that she understood what her mother had meant.

There is, however, one fundamental feature that sets us apart: My mother is a morning person.

I have never been a morning person.

I'm a bit of a night owl. I don't stay up until all hours, but I prefer the night. As a child, my bedroom was just off the kitchen. I would wake up to the pull-and-tear sound of the waxed paper as my mom made our lunches and shuffle groggily out of my room. (Mom wrapped everything in perfect waxed-paper packages. She still does, when it's called for, though she no longer makes my lunch. Well, not every day, anyway. But sometimes she calls me and says, "I'm hungry. Do you want a sandwich?" and she'll pop by. No right-thinking person turns down my mother's sandwiches. They're sensational, no matter what's on them. [She could probably put mud and gravel between two slices of bread and I'd love it.] I may have said this here before but I'll say it here again: I'm convinced that they taste so much better than any other sandwich because of her hands.)

So, as I was saying, I'd shuffle groggily out of my room and there she'd be, chipper as a Disney mouse, and I'd greet her with an utterance that approximated this: "Uuunh."

"Good morning," she'd trill. Well, OK, she didn't trill. My mom's voice is too low for trilling – we share timbre, too – but there was an unmistakable lilt.

Lilt, at that hour of the morning. Hmph. Lilt. Indeed.

But, in an effort to force myself into walking every day these days, mom has been coming by dutifully at 6 a.m., five days a week, which means that I set my alarms for 5:25 a.m. and 5:40 a.m.

The first alarm sets my CD player spinning and the mellow sounds of David Sanborn slowly rouse me. The second alarm does this: "ENH! ENH! ENH! ENH!" And I turn over and glare at my alarm clock and turn off both alarms and swing my legs over the side of the bed and stand up.

My body does not like being vertical at 5:40 in the morning. But I don't like the idea of my ass getting big enough to qualify as a shelf. So I get up and I get ready to walk.

Mom is there like clockwork. Smiling, handing me my newspaper from my front stoop as I open the door.

I have, however, evolved. Now, as I careen swiftly toward 40, I'm able to utter a "Hi" or even a "Good morning" on a really good day. But what I'm thinking, still, is "Uuunh."

The first day of this fitness madness, we walked right to Starbucks. If I was going to be up at that hour, by God, I was going to rekindle my love affair with caffeine. I'd been a decaf girl for years – I know, I know, you're saying, "What's the point?" – but when you feel as though your heart might come through your chest, it's best to make some changes. But I now realize that there is a time and a place for caffeine.

We don't walk to Starbucks every day. It's not lost on me that I'm not reaping the maximum benefits of exercise if I'm consuming calories in the process, kind of like running on a treadmill while wearing a lei of Krispy Kremes.

But the coffee, it's nice to know it's there.

Turns out, the trouble with getting up at 5:40 a.m. most mornings is that I am now prone to getting up at 5:40 a.m. all mornings.

Like this morning.

Despite the fact that I was up late. Despite the fact that I've been operating on a bit of a sleep deficit. Despite the fact that I'm in a floofy hotel room in a comfy, king-size bed.

I woke up and tried to peer at the clock. (Ha! Good luck, Beth. Maybe you'd like to insert your teenage eyes and try that again.) So I grabbed my cellphone (lying face down, lest the display cast light into the room and mess with my slumber) and winced at the window: 5:41 a.m.


I should have ordered my room service for 6:30., not 9:30. How naive and hopeful of me, thinking I'd be asleep until 9.

So it is early. And I am awake. But the furthest I am walking is to the bathroom and back to bed. Until I need to get up to answer the door when breakfast arrives.

In nearly three hours.

(Hey! I just heard what sounded like a room-service cart or table wheeling through the hall. Maybe I can hijack someone's coffee.)

I'm sure none of this late-night, early-morning insanity has anything to do with the espresso I had after dinner last night. Jay, my pusher for the evening, said, "It's only 7 o'clock." And so I sipped. And it was good.

Damn, I wish I had one right now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo, it's the Grammar Police!

I read, "As a child, my bedroom was just off the kitchen," and am motivated to ask: Where did your bedroom go when it grew up?

9:19 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Yo, Grammar Police, let me off this time with a warning.

1) I was writing having only gotten a few hours of sleep.

2) I reserve the right to be colloquial in my posts. I think most people who read that sentence get my drift.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I've never been a morning person either, which is sad given I work days. It's difficult having to be at work at 9:00 AM every weekday!

11:40 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Nine AM would be a vacation for me. I started working a 6am-2:30 pm shift in July so I have to get up around 4. It's really messing up my weekends...I feel like I have jet lag even though I haven't gone anywhere.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Mikeachim said...

Coffee machine by the bed. Yes.

Even better, a pint of coffee in an IV drip on a timer.

If I woke up at 5.45am, my mind would break, with an audible "PWING' sound. I'd scream, I'd have a moment of brief, terrifying lucudity, and then mercifully my mind would go.

I love mornings. I love that feeling of the day stretching out in front of me like the ambitions of a Bond villain. Mornings are where I come up with my most interesting creative ideas.

However, can't do mornings. The only way to get me out of bed is to destroy the bed under me, say, with an RPG, or a round from an M1 Abrams. And even then I'll cling to the least-on-fire piece of rubble, and try to doze off again.

3:39 PM  

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