March 17, 2006

Gonna have to face it, I'm addicted to snooze.

I love to sleep. I don't just appreciate it in that passive, I-prefer-to-feel-well-rested-than-tired way. It's something I actively enjoy, an indulgence of sensory delight and pleasure, an activity to be entered into with joy and enthusiasm.

Even though I got plenty of sleep last night, I would jump at the opportunity to go home right now, curl up with my down comforter, body pillow, and cat (although that's entirely on her terms), and nap into the afternoon. It would feel so good...

The only downside is, I know exactly how that scenario would end.

I would wake up in the dark, disoriented, thirsty, and possibly drooling. The cat would have ferociously staked out some improbable real estate on my back, pinning me into an awkward position and responding with an annoyed meow and some claw-digging if I tried to move her. I would reach for the alarm clock to determine what time it was, clumsily knock over a bottle of water, see that it was 5:30, and try to figure out which 5:30 it was.

The only thing stronger than my love of sleep is my hatred of waking up.

The preceding scenario of confusion is pure bliss compared to what I go through each morning.

No matter what time I go to bed, no matter how well rested I am, I always need five more minutes of sleep. OK, maybe ten. Make that another ten.

My addiction to the snooze button runs deep. Once I get used to a particular alarm tone, I can effectively snooze ad infitum without fully regaining consciousness. My record is 2 1/2 hours of uninterrupted snoozing.

Once I finally do wake up, the first words out of my mouth are usually curse words, followed by a profuse apology to Sam, whom I have made late for work.

Part of the problem is that the sound of my alarm becomes overly familiar, and my brain begins to tune it out. In my constant search for novel stimuli to wake me up, I purchased an alarm clock with multiple settings. Thinking that I might soften the blow of awakening, I chose one with a variety of "nature sounds." In actuality, they sound like mediocre simulations of other sounds.

Wind: An industrial strength fan or hair dryer

Ocean: Grossly amplified radio static

Brook: That moment in the highly addictive computer game Insaniquarium where all the fish in my virtual tank die simultaneously

Forest: Some angry Hitchcock style birds

The other options are the classic buzzer and radio.

Currently, I am employing a three-step punch that starts with the birds at 5 a.m., moves on to the radio at 5:15, and then kicks into buzzer mode at 6:00, which is when Sam is supposed to start thinking about maybe waking up sometime in the next hour.

The radio is a new addition to the lineup, since I had grown sufficiently accustomed to all the nature sounds to sleep right through them, despite their disturbing and disorienting qualities. The dial is set just a smidgen away from a talk radio station which fills me with fear and anger every time I hear it. This morning, I needed to be at a meeting by 7 a.m., so it was critical that I wake up before 6:00.

5:15 a.m.: [static] PLAY [static static] BASKETBALL. [Monica curses] Slam on the snooze bar. Crisis averted. Cat comes running to investigate and plops on Monica's back.

5:25 a.m.: [static static] GREAT DEALS [static static] MITSUBISHI. Fumble for the snooze bar. Knock inhaler and two lip balms onto the floor. THIS WEEKEND!

5:35 a.m. REMARKABLE ATHLETES! Dammit, why does the world hate me? Hey wait, I should write a blog about this. Hmm, I'll have to remember to mention the nature sounds. They're kind of funny. At least I think so.

It was that line of thinking that brought me into awakeness (is that a word?) this morning, and helped me make it to my meeting on time and in a pretty good mood.

So the moral of the story is, sometimes inspiration comes from our darkest moments. Because no matter which 5:30 it is, it is always too dark to be waking up.

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