Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Sun Also Rises?

I am assuming this is still the case, otherwise it would be dark all the time and there would not be beautiful sunsets for me to photograph, but I must admit I haven’t seen a sunrise since I stopped frequenting the Continental back in the late eighties or so.

My maternal grandparents were both early birds – Grandpa worked at the “Bank with the Gold Dome” in downtown Buffalo and commuted by bus from Elma so he arose before the birds to make it to work on time.  Grandma loved to paint quick studies of the sunrise over her beloved garden from the cozy vantage point of the bathroom window on the second floor of their house on Bowen Road.  To live this lifestyle they naturally had to be in bed by nine or so.

My parents, on the other hand, were night owls – well, at least my mother was a night owl.  As a preacher’s wife she was obliged to attend church every Sunday, but that was the only day of the week she arose much before noon.  She hated daylight so much she would have made a perfect vampire.  Nighttime brought out the best in her – with every light blazing in our usually massive parsonages, she would sew, dust, read, dust some more, do laundry, and dust again.  I often wonder what our electric bills must have been like back then.

My dad was on call around the clock so he slept when he could – catnaps during the day on the couch in the living room, a quick snooze at his desk in his study, catching a few z’s while he waited in the car when he was chauffeuring me someplace – but he was always there to make the valiant attempt every school morning to pry me out of bed.  I do not know how he managed this because I was the kid who stayed up reading with my flashlight under the covers until all hours of the night; or I whiled away the night time hours listening to those far off stations on my brick sized turquoise colored transistor radio.  Cousin Brucie on WABC, Dick Biondi on WLS, Dick Summer and Irving the Second (aka Superplant) on WBZ - rock ‘n’ roll and silliness! 

Every school morning dad would call me from their room, “Time to get up.”  I would mumble, “I am up,” and of course, fall back asleep.  This was repeated several times, until my human snooze alarm appeared in my doorway and made sure I stumbled into the bathroom.  He was always nice enough to turn on the wall heater so the bathroom was toasty but as soon as he went back to bed I would curl up on the bathmat and go back to sleep.  This resulted in a series of knocks at the door.  “Are you awake?”  “Yes.”  “What are you doing in there?”  “I am brushing my teeth.”  “I don’t hear any brushing.”

I do not know how he managed this but I made it to school nearly every day (unless I decided to skip gym class and then I became quite talented at feigning illness).

When it came to my abbreviated college career, my nightmares were the morning classes – I rarely made it to any of them.  I failed Psychology 101 when it was an 8 o’clock class – passed it easily the next semester when it was in the blessed afternoon.

Having to work for a living also behooved me to abide by the timetables of others.  I do not even remember what time I had to show up for work in those dreadful days – I guess I have pushed that horror from my mind.

The best part of having my own business is the ability to set my own hours.  I open the shop at 11am from Tuesday through Friday and 1pm on Saturday.  This allows me to sleep in to at least 9:30 on weekdays, 11:30 on Saturdays.  I think about those poor folks who have to get up at or before the crack of dawn – and it makes my stomach clench – I am simply no good at anything until the sun is high in the sky.  I cannot think or create or even eat in the morning.

Thus I find myself to be the perfect combination of my mother and my father.  I catnap when I can and I stay up as late as I can – writing, reading, and listening to the radio.  Sometimes my cats give up on me and go to bed before I do – and they are nocturnal souls!

So perhaps this explains why you receive an email from me that I sent out at 3am or a Facebook post at 4am.  I get enough sleep, do not worry – I just sleep different hours than most of you.

And if you phone me at 8am, don’t ask, “Did I wake you?” because you did.