Friday, January 11, 2008

Living a Lie

I've been back in the office since January 2. Prior to that, I had nearly two full weeks at home, which was the longest uninterrupted stretch since, well, I don't want to think about that.

Having nearly two full weeks at home without any early-morning obligations meant that my body was able to revert to its 'default' settings. And I've been forced to come to terms with a horrible truth.

I am not a morning person.

In grad school, I'd usually go to bed somewhere between midnight and two, and wake up around nine, like God intended. In my faculty days, if I didn't have an early morning class, I largely stuck to that. (One semester I had a freshman comp class at 7:30 in the morning. I think that violated the Geneva Convention.) It wasn't until the one-two punch of fatherhood and administration that I started getting up every day at some ridiculous hour.

Then it got worse. I realized that the only way I could go to the gym on any kind of regular basis and not be a horribly neglectful parent or spouse was to go before work. So 'ridiculous' became 'you've got to be kidding.' And there it is.

Staying on the treadmill, I can sort of fool myself for a while. If the breaks are no longer than a weekend, then I don't fully revert to my default settings. Even a long weekend doesn't register as much more than a blip.

But the Christmas break was long, and mostly travel-free. We purposely kept the obligations light. The kids didn't have to go to school, so there was nothing forcing anybody to get up early. And I started waking up, oh, nine-ish.

It was glorious. After a few days, I actually felt like myself again. Having once again tasted the sweet nectar of an inner clock in harmony with the universe, this past week has been a real struggle. (Yes, yes, I know, clocks don't have nectar. Just roll with it.) And it's not just the job; TB has to get going fairly early to make it to school.


When I get really desperate, I shift to an earlier bedtime. That works for exactly one day. Then my body clock figures out that it's been tricked, and hits back. It's not pretty.

Extroverts, morning people, and Republicans have entirely too much power in our culture. Thoughtful, sleep-deprived liberals of the world, unite! We have nothing to lose but our crankiness.

And now, off to the gym.