Nine Minutes

It happens every morning.

Actually, it happens every nine minutes every weekday morning.

I try. I really do. Every time it happens, I promise myself it will be the last time. But alas, I always fall back into my old ways.

It starts at 6:00 AM, when my first alarm goes off. I wake up, reach over to the clock, and push the big button on the top in order to shut off the noise before it wakes up my wife. I know it won’t wake my daughter. After seven years, she’s become impervious to the alarm clock.

But once the clock has been silenced, I lie in bed and stare at the big green numbers. And I think, “I could get up early today. Get my shower and then maybe make breakfast for everyone. Maybe even get to work early. Yeah, today, I’ll turn over a new leaf. In fact, I have time to take the dog for a walk before my shower. I’m going to do this every day from now on! This is the start of a new….”

And then I fall asleep again.

I know that it goes off again at 6:09 and 6:18, but I don’t really remember it happening on any given day.

And at 6:27, all I know is that I’m clawing at every button on the clock in quiet despair, because my brian is too mushy to get the right one. Sometimes I turn on the “nap” feature, which then panics me because I don’t really know what it does.

At 6:30, my second alarm goes off. My wife bought me the dual alarm clock a few years ago. Most people buy them so that each spouse can have a distinct wake up time. Not me. I have one because I have actually outslept my old alarm clock. It stopped trying to wake me up several times.

There’s another alarm at 6:36, and another at 6:39. That’s about the time I think, “Okay, no more fooling around. If I don’t get up now, I’m not going to….”

And then I fall asleep again. Until 6:45. At which point, I disable all alarms and climb out of bed to begin my morning routine. Or, if it’s an especially bad day, sometimes I unconsciously disable all alarms and then go back to sleep, only to be awakened some time after 7:00 by the cartoons my daughter is watching.

Now, before anyone tells me that I need to get more sleep, let me just say: “No duh.”

But the fact is, I usually feel better on less sleep, within reason. Less than about four hours, and I’m worthless. With between four and five hours of sleep, I can get up pretty well. Anything between six and nine hours, and I feel like a zombie in the morning. With nine and up, I’m a bit groggy, but generally okay.

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