I am a snoozer. My husband is not. He simply cannot understand my whole waking up in the morning system. He doesn’t really have a system, so, well, I think I win.
My alarm clock is broken. I mean, it will ring when the numbers on the ‘alarm’ setting match the numbers on the ‘time’ setting, but it can’t keep track of time any better than a preschooler in time-out can. It runs fast, but not consistently fast. The time on its face is some random time ahead of the real time, although usually within the hour. Usually. Not always.
This drives my husband bonkers, even though from where he lays his head at night he can’t see the thing, and he has a clock right next to his head that tells the correct time. I love it this way. If I lie in bed in the morning and know I have exactly X number of minutes until I am late, you can guarantee I won’t get up until X + several minutes have gone by, under the theory that I can just take a quick shower and maybe do my makeup at work. However, if I have no idea if I am already late, I have some incentive to get up because I really really hate being late. So setting a ‘normal’ clock ahead wouldn’t work because I would know how many minutes to add.
I also like to snooze the alarm, another thing that irritates my beloved. His argument is that it isn’t like you get any actual sleep in the nine minutes between cathedral bells (another reason I like my alarm clock) and won’t be any more rested after three or four snoozes.
His argument, I believe, shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how my brain operates. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an on and off switch. I’m not either ‘awake’ or ‘asleep.’ There are transition periods. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you put your ear close to my head during the 27 minutes of snooze time, you would hear some electrical crackling noise as the synapses fire up and prepare for the day’s onslaught of input. I need time to reflect on my dream while I am halfway asleep and the thing still makes a modicum of sense. I need time to steel my nerves for whatever fresh hell the day is going to bring me.
My husband and my son are like robots, in my opinion. They power on and power off. There is nothing gradual about it. My son is either sleeping or awake. He is never sleepy, out of it, daydreaming, lost in thought, or in la la land. When he was small, the only way we could get him to fall asleep was to get him to stop talking. The minute he did, he would conk out.
My daughter and I need some time in an in-between state. I have an elaborate bed time ritual, and if one step is missed, or even done out of order, the whole process seems out of whack and might not even work at all. I have to have a glass of milk. I have to wash my face, floss, and brush. In that order. I have to read at least ten pages of fiction. You cannot talk to me. Not even to say goodnight, or I have to start at a certain point all over again. I have to read on my left side, then turn over on my stomach, think for a while, and then turn to my right. I hug my bear, named Whip (don’t ask), to my chest. This is important to my health and well being. I don’t know why.
A few days ago, my husband reset my clock to reflect the actual time. He told me he was doing this. I suppose I could have stopped him, but I didn’t. Truly, I have no idea now what time I should set my alarm for in order to get up on time. I’ve been late for every single thing that has happened in the morning since. It is hard for me to wrap my dream-drunk morning brain around looking at the clock and accepting that the number on it is for real.
Reality. It shouldn’t be faced before coffee.
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.