A.M. Enemies

sleepy catIf there’s one lesson I learned as a teenager, it’s that, well, girls don’t like sweat. But a close second is that everyone wants you to be awake.


My mom and dad were the first two people in that line, my exasperated teachers behind them. A slew of coaches, siblings, bosses, and others who needed me awake so that I could perform some promised duty, give someone a ride somewhere, work part of a job in return for a wage set on an hourly basis, or play baseball.

Or, really, just become part of human daytime society.

But I liked being awake at nighttime, so mornings for me were nothing short of sunny torture. While I’d eventually crawl out of bed and walk amongst the Day People, for an hour or so my brain cursed everyone and was daydreaming about night dreaming. And probably in there somewhere I was thinking about sex.

Some things haven’t changed.

Some things have. For example, I am no longer the Night Owl I used to be, and I willingly get out of bed in the early-ish morning to embark upon my day and enjoy my morning routine. Grogginess doesn’t last too long, but then I am getting more sleep in the socially accepted prescribed hours than I ever did as a teen.

However, the number of things trying to drag me out of bed has grown. Since this is May in Prague one of those things is the sun. The sun comes up at around 5 a.m. which means that it’s light in my room by around 4:30. It also means that by 4 the birds start doing their high-pitched serenade to King Sol.

Anxiety helps, too. This is because from November to March nighttime in Prague lasts until after 8 a.m. Therefore when the sun is fully up and beaming into my room at 5-ish, my brain is saying Holy shit man, I don’t know what it is, but you are definitely late for something! So I wake up in a panic, run around my bedroom with a palpitating heart, and look for pants.

Not to be outdone, my body also does its part. My bladder is an ever shrinking reserve tank, ready to be emptied with uncomfortable reminders. My back does not like any position I bend it into, as though it has been told that after 6.3 hours it will no longer be able to find comfort. And there is no itchier time for dry skin then when its owner is trying to squeeze a final hour of sleep in the post-light hours of dawn.

If I somehow slip through those obstacles and manage to drift off for a few last minutes before my alarm goes off, there’s always my cat. My cat is nothing short of a Guantanamo Bay Informational Extraction Expert. She jauntily strolls around the room pushing things off dressers and shelves, tickles my nose with the tip of her tail, and when all else fails she stands on my full reserve tank with medical accuracy. Before you trump my cat with your children, I will respectfully point you to the argument of You Made Your Bed vs. Now Lying in it.

Still, I never realized how many enemies sleep had. Everything is trying to pull me out of the one place where relaxation and rest is my only job. It seems unfair. At the same time, I am beginning to see the genius of diner’s Early Bird Specials and the afternoon nap has become a religious event. What’s more, I don’t mind it too much.

When I was a teen, nobody on Earth would have been able to convince me that I would one day enjoy, even look forward to, mornings. That I would find moments of pure joy reading the news on my couch with the morning light pouring in and a cup of coffee on my table. But I do.

Perhaps a drop wiser these days, I have no such trouble believing that I will continue to change. I almost believe that one day I will not fight this battle any longer. That there will come a time when I sigh and crawl out of bed at the first peep of a robin or at first light. Maybe I’ll be enjoying a morning routine that inches its way backwards towards midnight with ever steady, yearly progress. Maybe soon I’ll be up early enough to wake up the cat or serenade the sunrise.

Hell, maybe I’ll open a diner.

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