I've been on early morning duty this week, meaning I have to be at work at 7:30 every morning. For once I'm managed to be on time or early every day for this. Usually it's pretty tough for me to get to work on time, but I've managed to do well so far this semester. It's been a little unusual to actually hear the teacher bell that rings at 7:45 when all teachers are supposed to be on campus. I've had first block planning for so long that I had a tendency to be a little less than disciplined in getting started in the morning. There's not much motivation when you know there won't be students at your door promptly at 7:55 each morning. No one even notices you're late.
This semester, I have fourth block planning, meaning I have a class in my room at 7:55 a.m., something that's only happened one other time in my three years here. That means that instead of lallygagging in bed, gradually drifting in and out of consciousness until almost 7 a.m., I'm forcing myself to stumble into the bathroom to shower before 6 a.m. Before, I was willing to take the trade off of being a little late for being a little happier, especially given that I typically stay later than 3:30 p.m., the time we're allowed to leave, so I'm obviously not stealing any of my salary, just giving myself fifteen minutes of flex scheduling.
Now, I'm having to force myself into full consciousness as soon as K, wearing a towel turban around her head, comes back from her shower and wakes me up. Now, I love my wife, but she's not the best at waking me up. Her idea of a wake up call is saying my name gently until I respond, turning on her closet light as encouragement and leaving. Do you realize how hard it is for me to not just roll over and go back into a deep sleep under those conditions? She usually won't even come back in and check on me every couple of minutes to nag me back awake. What kind of wife is that? A good wife would turn on the TV and overhead lights even though loud vitriol poured from my semiconscious mouth at her.
Anyway, I'm not the happiest person in the morning. In fact, there should probably be a mental health professional joining me in the shower every morning I have to wake up before 8 a.m. just in case they need to talk me down from fashioning the shampoo bottle into some type of weapon of self destruction. That's a dark time for me as the dizziness from the sudden changes in my state of consciousness has not yet departed, and the synthetic batting that seems to stuff my skull directs me to bemoan the state of my career and life. An hour later, I'll be in a perfectly good mood, but that first 45 minutes of alertness or so is total hell.
That lengthy exposition was to set the stage for this: I really don't understand some people. As I've walked into work each day this week, unnecessarily early, I noticed that a steady trickle of students were filing in from the student parking lot. Now, I can understand those who have to ride the bus or get dropped off by their parents having to be at school before they're allowed to go to their first class. They don't have any say in the matter there. They either take the ride when offered, or they stay home. I just don't understand why any god-fearing teenager would arrive at school any more than five minutes before the first bell. I remember being in high school after I got my driver's license and hand-me-down truck. I was almost never late (except maybe a little toward the end of my senior year), but I also never had time to linger in my trip from parking lot to classroom. It would have taken major incentives to get me to school earlier, as that would have meant sacrificing precious minutes of sleep. I already had to drive straight home after school for a nice four-hour nap a few times a month, and that after I usually got at least eight hours of sleep a night. Who are these early-rising kids and why haven't they been treated for mental illness?
I really feel like slapping some sense into these kids. "Abuse your freedom!" I want to shout. "That's what your car and driving privileges are for." They only these few short years, and college if they're one of the 25 percent of students here who choose to go, to be able to be a slacker and get away with it. Instead, I just walk up and down the hall wishing I could still be in bed.
* The title is a reference to a lyric in a Joanna Newsom song. Apparently, after searching for the lyrics turned up a bunch of resources on Islam, I found out it's a reference to a passage in the Koran as well.