Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Not a Morning Person

It's ten o'clock and I'm wide awake. Ten at night. I could stay up until 1 or 2 and be happy about it. I only need 7.5 hours of sleep a night, so my natural cycle is to sleep from about 1 until about 8:30 and sometimes 9 a.m. I have always been this way.

I remember as a young girl always having trouble waking in the mornings and going to sleep at night. Maybe that's everyone; I don't know. I grew up without digital props. We played outside in the sunshine and rain and snow and tried to stay out of our mother's hair or there wasn't anyone home anyway, so we'd ride bikes in the afternoon. Or we'd hang out and talk or play games. My sisters taught me to play chess and card games and I read like a fiend. But mostly, I just played.

It was worse as a teenager because my mom was the night dispatcher at the local police department. She worked midnight to 8 a.m. and I left for school at 8:15. We'd have a cup of coffee after she came home and before I left for school. I would stay up very late at night and read books, sometimes so late that I'd skip school until noon the next day to catch up. Back in the day, school started promptly at 8:30 and we stayed until 3:25. It was difficult to stay awake during those morning classes. I don't remember anything that was said or taught until after lunch. Of course, after lunch was Ag shop, English and whatever business class Mr. Moore was teaching.

I took jobs that required my presence after 9 a.m.- a job as a telephone operator, a bartender, a desk clerk at a hotel. I've done a lot of crappy jobs. I did for awhile have to be at work at 7:30 in the morning when I worked as a secretary in Las Vegas. And later when I was at a veterinary hospital, it was 7:45. Who gets up that early?

If I have to be someplace before say, 9 a.m., there are a few things you can bank on. One is that I won't be beautiful unless I'm presenting or teaching something. So no makeup, no pretty hair and definitely not a lot of smiling. I'm pretty much a zombie until around 9. I'm lucky that my teeth get brushed and that I'm wearing clothes. The clothes don't always match. Just saying. I teach in the afternoons and evenings and take classes after 4:30 p.m. Sometimes my teaching and school day ends at 10 p.m. For some, that's a hardship. For me, that's life. I like it better in the summer because of the heat, but even in winter I like to sleep in, snuggled into warm quilts with an aging and mercurial cat to keep me warm.

Having said that, it must be quite entertaining for my statistics professor to deal with me these last few weeks. The class begins at 8. In the morning. And lasts until 1. Five hours of statistics is bad enough, but really? Five hours a day, five days a week for a month? Why did I sign up for kamikaze statistics? Because if I do this and also finish the qualitative research course, I can take my comprehensive exams in the Fall with my regularly scheduled six hours of classes and the 18 hours that I will be teaching. Because I'm sort of kamikaze as a student.

I roast my own coffee these days. A good guy named R.E. Davis gave me his old roaster so I can do so easily, and I buy green coffee beans locally. And this morning, I got up late and didn't get a chance to make coffee. Crazy because it only takes four minutes. One minute to burr grind and three to run water through the Bunn- I've got more money tied up in coffee than some people put into their cars. I corrected the kid at Starbucks counter the other day. Don't fuck with me, junior. I have been economically supporting this company since before you were born.
Anyway, I got up late and threw on some clothes and put a hat on my head and ran out the door. It's faster to ride my scooter because I can park closer to the building, so off I went. I mentally patted myself on the back for brushing my teeth. Come 8:45, I was nodding off. This has happened before, but I'm not usually on the front and center row with the good professor lecturing to me and my fellow compatriots in what sometimes seems like tongues. I could see his face clearly, there were words coming from lips and I'm sure I must've looked like I was on a bad acid trip from staring so hard, trying to figure out what the hell he was saying.

I had to do something; I wouldn't want him to think that I don't care about the class. I really do, which is a problem. I need to know the stuff he's teaching us. It helps with critical thinking skills and analyzing data from studies that I often read. If I don't comprehend this, I will take it over again. So I did what everyone does: I pretended I was sniffling and went to the bathroom to try to wake up.

I've got to make it through this week and two more just like it. If I ever hoped to be a morning person, this cures me of any notion that I will ever be so. Here it is, 10:45, and I am still awake and need to get up at 6:30 tomorrow. I've got the original vampire book, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and maybe I'll take a look at it for a bit before nodding off. And I'll roast up a small batch of Nicaraguan for unweldling my eyes tomorrow. Oh morning, why do you vex me so?

1 comment:

  1. I feel your pain. When I was old enough to be put in pre-school, my mom enrolled me in the afternoon session because she knew I was not a morning person. Of course, that all went to hell when I entered 1st grade.

    I need about 7 hours of sleep a night. Often, I have to survive on 5 or 6, and I pay for it. Caffeine doesn't do nearly as much for me as it does for you.

    Rather than working really crappy jobs, I sucked it up and got up around 4 am for many years because the job started at 6 or 6:30. In college, unlike a lot of my peers who got up around noon, I had to get up early because the math/computer science professor I liked taught most of his classes in the early morning.

    I'm lucky at the moment that I now work a shift that is more to my liking. I leave for work around 1 pm and get home around 1 am (because of a one-hour commute on each end). I rarely need an alarm unless I have to get up early. I generally wake up after about 7 hours of sleep. I'm supposed to rotate into other shifts, but I've managed to avoid it for about 15 months or so.

    I know you have the math skills to make it through stats, unlike many of your fellow grad students. It is something of a cruel irony that those who seek advanced degrees in any discipline are often plagued with having to show some level of competence in what might be viewed as an opposite area, e.g., social science and humanities majors having to use statistics and math/science majors having to write well-enough to write a thesis or dissertation.