I don’t know if it’s complacency or exhaustion, but suddenly I’m hearing the alarm.
Let’s put that into perspective.
I’m not much of a sleeper. Not in the mornings. I generally wind down these days around 9 pm, and shut my eyes for the final time each day between 9:30 and 10:00. In the interim, of course, I take the dogs out one last time, take my eyes out of my head (I wear contacts), change into the most comfortable pair of old shorts I own, and lay down to read a book. The variance in time, at that point, is how long it takes that book to go from “can’t put down” to “falling on my face because I’m dozing.”
Seriously, I’ve bruised my nose before from this.
The moment that book hits my face, I know it’s time. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes, sometimes 45. My wife, bless her heart, has had to put that book away for me, at times, because it’s laying on my face and I’m out cold. Sometimes I’m that tired.
Except from the hours between 2 and 4 in the morning, and never much after 5 am.
Most mornings I spring from the bed at 5 am, the hour I’ve been waiting for all night. I spring from the bed to write, to catch up on the world report, to drink a large volume of coffee, and to basically enjoy 2 full hours of uninterrupted me-time. Nobody is throwing their ball at me, begging to play. Nobody is asking me to get something off the top shelf. Almost nobody is walking in to randomly show me an old knick-knack they’ve found in the bottom of a box they’ve been unpacking for the last three months.
The mother-in-law does not, yet, fully understand my “me-time.”
But, there I am, springing from bed, being Tom.
But every so often, and for the last five consecutive days, I hear the alarm.
The alarm is set for 6 am. It is set for 6 am because I don’t want to sleep past that hour on the occasional morning that I find myself complacent or exhausted. I could set it at 5 am, since that is when I like to get up, but I found out some years ago that my brain works an hour ahead of time. If I set my alarm for 5 am, I will spring from bed at 4 am, ready to be Tom. Consequently, I will be winding down at 8 pm that evening and the book will be bruising my nose by 9.
It’s a rhythm thing. “Know thyself,” Plato once said. Or was that Socrates?
It was both, and neither first. Thanks again, Google machine.
But I know myself, is the point. I know myself to the point that I can trick myself to get up when I want.
Except for the last five days. For the last five days I’ve been hearing the alarm, or darn near. I’ve been sleeping in. Is it possible that I’m avoiding being me? Is it possible that these old bones have reached a tipping point, and the usual 7 hours is not… quite… enough.
Have I been altered by some recent astronomical event?
I doubt it. The explanation is probably mundane. Just writing it out this morning will probably shift my pattern out of flux, returning Tom to being Tom by morning.
So, in a way, this was therapy. You are my doctors. The words are my remedy.
Thanks for the couch.