I was talking to a friend recently – let’s call him Mike – about his job producing a local morning news program. He said he’s up at 3 AM, in a production meeting by 4 AM, and then writing news and doing whatever it is that news producers do to get the show on the air.
I’m familiar with 3 AM. It’s usually the time that the dogs need to go out to potty, a holdover from house training days when the little bundle of puppy love couldn’t make it through the night. We get up, we go out, they do their thing, and we’re back in bed. For those five minutes, I’m just barely out of REM sleep.
So I’m just amazed that Mike actually gets up at the same time and starts his work day. The thing that’s the weirdest about getting up that early, he told me, is that the birds are chirping, even though it’s pitch dark out.
And with that one comment, my entire sleep cycle has been ruined.
This morning, I took the dogs out at our usual time. Same routine as always. But this time when I laid my head on my pillow, I heard it: a bird chirping.
How have I never heard the birds chirping at this hour? I thought to myself. I mean really, what do they birds do at that time of the morning? They can’t see in the dark, can they? Can they smell worms? I know I can smell worms when it rains. But we haven’t had any rain.
These are the thoughts that started running through my mind. And it was downhill from there.
I can’t believe people get up this early in the morning to go to work. I suppose the upside is that there’s no traffic. I’m so glad I don’t have a real job. I mean, good grief, how can you be awake enough to write news copy … write … write … oh, crap, I think I have a column due. What day is it? Is it the 15th yet? … the 15th … did I pay the mortgage? I don’t think I paid the mortgage. Is there even enough in the account to pay the mortgage? Oh god, I need to get a job. A real job, with a real paycheck. Oh wait, I already tried that. Didnt work. I’m such a loser. I can’t believe what a loser I am. OK, I should really get up right now. Right now, go write or clean or do something productive, since I’m awake. What time is it, 4 AM? It’s 4:30 AM? How did an hour and a half pass? Whatever, I should get up and go downstairs and try to get some writing done while the dogs are all asleep. That’s what I should do. Get up. Although I am still tired. I just can’t fall back to sleep. OK, get up. Get up now. Go write that column. What should I write about? Grrr, just get up or go back to sleep, but don’t lie here thinking about sleeping. Good grief, those birds are loud. If I don’t fall back to sleep right now the neighborhood will start waking up and the dogs will wake up and I’ll never get back to sleep. How can it be 5:30 AM already? OK, just get up. Did I put the laundry in the dryer last night? It’s going to be stinky in the washer and I’ll have to rewash it. I hate this heat. It’s so hot. Except this fan is really annoying. It’s blowing on my head. I’m cold. And one of these dogs stinks. They all need to get baths today. OK, let’s put that on the to do list. Write, give the dogs baths. And what else? Oh god, I am a loser. My days are filled with … nothing. Why even bother to get up at all?
And the next thing I knew, it was 9:30 AM. Well, between 5:30 and 9:30 I was aware of dogs breathing in my face and one puppy chewing my shoes. But I lost two and a half crucial hours in the middle of my sleep cycle and now I’m all off kilter.
I blame it all on that stupid bird. And Mike, who pointed it out.