Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fair Warning

I'm not a morning person. Funny thing is, I had an argument about this yesterday with an old friend who has known me nearly thirty years. "But you get up fine, so you really are technically a morning person, or at least sort of one," she insisted. And that's partly true. If I have to get up, I get up.

That's not being a morning person, though. That's being willing to play along and adapt.

Trust me, I'm NEVER happy about it.

I have two of the most pathologically-morning-person people in the universe in my life, btw. Both share a birthday, and yes I am working that out in therapy thankyouverrymuch. Both Ahmed and my father are up-at-the-crack-of-dawn people. What I've noticed, as I have observed the behavior and migratory patterns of the adult morning person from my secluded observation unit (bed), is that they get up when they wake up and hit the floor without any shuffling, belly scratching, or one-eyed-bleary-staggering. They just get up. Dad grew up on a farm... Ahmed grew up in a war zone (at least until he was 10).

The strange thing is that I, on the opposite end of the getting-up spectrum, am the same. No, really. When I get up it's a straight route to the bathroom, back to the bed to flip on the news, and immediate initiation of whatever I got up to do.

Here's where it veers into difference:

1. I'm absolutely never, ever, under any circumstances happy about it.
2. I will absolutely, never, ever, under any circumstances do it if I can avoid it.
3. I have absolutely, never, ever, under any circumstances ANY interest in engaging in conversation or anything else with you until I have had about half an hour to quietly adjust to "fine." I'm not fine. I can do what I need to do, be where I need to be, and refrain from killing, maiming, or otherwise laying down the funk... usually. But I need a half hour, minimum, to lock that in.

This is, I am sure, the root of the confusion. Roxanne, my friend from paragraph one, never sees me til after the buffer zone has been cleared. She sees me with my makeup on, hair either contained beneath a ball cap or flat-ironed and sprayed. She sees me with the latte half consumed, the shoe-laces tied, the cell-phone on. She sees me this way, and assumes I came out of the box this way.

I think the only way I can have successful relationships with the morning people of the world is by combining the perfect balance of adaptation and fair warning.

The adaptation part is my job. Sometimes I need to be up. You see... I know, morning people, your dirty little secret. Just as I can appear normal while still in the transition phase, you appear to be content to let others sleep. This is a lie.

Ah. Yes. And now we arrive at the fair warning segment of today's blogucation installment. Because you don't like it when others sleep in. You don't really have no problem cheerfully brushing your teeth while we doze in happy slumber. You don't really feel content puttering around in a quiet house while the night owls of the world remain buried beneath yummy, soft quilts in cool, dry rooms with the shades sighing in soft repose, draped gently over the windows.

The morning people of the world secretly believe that everyone should be one of them. They believe that if they make a tiny bit of "accidental" noise, linger by the bed giving off awakeness cooties, or simply mentally-project their birth defect long enough, we will all convert. So if they see a twitch, a roll, or hear a suspiciously lucid sigh, they go into a kind of heat-seeking-conversion mode. They wander over... hover... perhaps cough or sit on the edge of the bed in a suspiciously bouncy plop. Feign concern.

"You okay?" Not even close to a whisper.


"Oh, I thought you were up. Sorry." Liar. How do you live with the lie? It clings to you like skunk spray.

This is where the morning person must learn to respect the balance. This is the delicate border between peace and war. This is for freaking serious, people.

I can get up. If I need to get up, I will get up. If not, get BACK OVER THE LINE OF DEATH. This isn't "you left the toilet seat up." It's not "can't you put the cap back on the toothpaste?" It's not a tiff. It's the kind of throw down that will require a trip to Home Depot in its wake.

A spirit of true compromise and respect is essential in any good relationship, and this is the place to define and embrace it: the morning routine. Morning people dance along the edges in hopes of converting night owls. Night owls allow them to do this, restraining The Beast. It is a dance of graceful slides and furious swirls. It is both waltz and tarantella. Light as air... hard as stone.

This is the essence of our difference. The morning person is convinced he or she knows the way. They are up, ready, and feeling groovy. The night owl knows the way; he or she found, paved, and lit the path while the morning person was asleep. It was a pain in the backside, and now it's time to rest. Go forth, morning person, and do shiny and special things upon that path. We'll be along later.

No... seriously... stop standing there in the shadows, fighting the urge to cough. Get out.

They can't help it. Our peaceful slumber seems indulgent to them, just as our frenzied activity at 3 AM does. We find the notion of wasting the most quiet hours of the day sinful... and bang away on computers or scribble on sketch pads, or do whatever we do in blissful peace and quiet while they snore. How, they wonder, do we get anything done lazing away in bed all day? How, we wonder, can they get anything done with all that STUFF going on around them? And so, to allow life to continue as we know it, we dance. Spin, slide, twirl.

They linger and cough... we let them live.

Just. Don't. Push it.

Fair warning.


  1. Ha, I'm a late night AND morning person. It's afternoons I hate. Hate, with a vengeance.

  2. LMAO!!!!! Loved this post!!! I'm a night owl through and through.

  3. dude. I feel you. Though, my morning person has gotten very good at indulging my laziness without waking me.

    most likely because I'm frightening.

  4. Hahahaha :)
    Excellent post!
    It should be posted in magazines everywhere.
    I'm a NightOwl too. I revel in the subdued stillness of the night.
    Love & Best Wishes,

  5. I've tried waking them up, I admit it-I even used to sing show tunes to get them outo of bed, but nothing worked... now I like my own peace and quiet in the mornings :)

  6. Amanda Brice10:14 AM

    That was a great post. And I'm not necessarily a night person, but I'm certainly not a morning person either. I'm more of an afternoon person.

  7. HAHAHAHAHA awesome post. Rock on, sista 'nista.