Tuesday, January 17, 2012


My old bed in Athens, where I also did not wake up ever

So I can’t wake up. Can’t make it happen. It’s a source of shame for me, so I spend a lot of time joking about it for the amusement of others. That’s about the only thing it’s good for, the occasional laugh. It also makes me feel like garbage, like a woman-child, a hardly-adult. Nick’s former roommate Jason always was up reading the news or making coffee at 7:30 in the morning despite not needing to be on campus to teach until 10 or so. “I need some tips on how to join your kind,” I told him once over a beer. He raised an eyebrow, not quite understanding. “Evie, I just get up when my alarm goes off.”

And fat people should just eat less, right? And why don’t depressed people just feel better. My problem is way less grave than disordered eating or a chemical imbalance, but Jason’s innocuous words floored me. For those who do not struggle, there is no struggle. I’m not claiming victim status (please) but I think the only way to control this is to stop seeing it as a deep personal failing and start viewing myself as on some spectrum of predisposition to a vice. That’s shrink speak for: I am trying to give myself a break.

I have a tidy collection of coping mechanisms. I usually take my makeup bag to work with me and apply in it the bathroom. I sleep on my hair wet so it dries smooth and wavy and I only have to throw it in a topknot or clip it back with a barrette in the morning. (Both of these hairstyles can be accomplished while at a stoplight.) Nick feeds the cat but I scoop the litter because the litter isn’t a morning commitment. I walk on the balls of my feet from the top of the steps at work to my office, lest the drop of wedge heel on concrete slab give me away. Ha, I didn’t even grasp the breadth of these little habits until I started going over a typical morning in my head. I can’t tell if I want to pat my little self on the top of the head, or shake my shoulders violently.

I’ll have a few good days and then backslide, and become so discouraged that I lose the will to try altogether. Our terrible bed wasn’t helping, half-pipe shaped mattress had me trying to make slumber happen on the downslope of a sine curve, basically. Inevitably, I roll into my one thousand degree Fahrenheit husband, whose scorching skin is complemented by a deafening snore. So instead of getting champagne sleep (defined as: sleeping alone, in a 70 degree room in early October, on a king-sized hotel bed with starched sheets and one light blanket. I am wearing socks.), I am getting PBR sleep. Nay, Natty Light sleep.

Nick is physically unable sense a thing wrong with the bed (and is not just being a dick, as, um, previously assumed), so convincing him to get a new one has been trying. Last week, my back was so wrecked that I had to sit down to put on tights because I couldn’t bend over. Yeah, so getting dressed while seated should be an indulgence reserved for the full-term pregnant and the octogenarian set. Of course I started crying, from pain and exhaustion, sitting right on the bed with my damn tights all twisted. That night, dude came home with some lumber and locked me out of the bedroom while I heard infernal hammering and possibly the whine of a drill?

Our new (old) bed is different just by sight, as if puffed out from within, the way an inflated basketball looks different from one that’s gone a little elastic. The ol’ girl’s all plucky and firm and I think we could maybe set a wine glass on Nick’s side and jump on mine without spilling like that old commercial? It is not flattery when I say I have no idea how he managed it. Our mattress is ancient and saggy and our hand-me-down bedframe threatens to buckle under the turbulence of a sneeze, basically. Still, whatever! I don’t need the magician to show me how the trick is done. The bed is now deliciously flat and my back is feeling better, which is to say, not feeling like complete garbage.

My latest kick is purchasing one of those (soooo expeeeensive) wake-up lights, a sort of ambient orb that begins slowly flooding your bedroom with light beginning a half hour before your intended wake up time. If I trust the faceless online reviewers, it will either change my life forever or be a total waste of money. I figure if the thing functions just fine, but doesn’t work for me, I can sell it without taking too much of a loss.

It’s not my goal to become a morning person. It’s not my goal to make it to the 6:15 a.m. spinning class that I see on the Y schedule but don’t believe to actually exist. I just want to wake up, and not have my day ruined by misplaced keys because I’m already running ten minutes late.


  1. Oh, lady. I too am an Eternal Sleeper and have been working on a post with a similar theme.

    Every morning I sleep in, almost against my own will, so I start every day feeling like a goddamn worthless sack of flesh who CAN'T EVEN GET UP AT A RESPECTABLE HOUR, AND HOW IN HELL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO MAKE ANYTHING OUT OF YOUR LIFE IF YOU CAN'T EVEN GET OUT OF BED RAAAAAAAAAWWWWRRRRRRRRRRRR. Depressing.

    I'd offer you a wake-up call in the mornings, but it's two hours earlier here, and I'm clearly not the best person for the job. Still, there should be moral support for People Who Can't Stop Sleeping.

  2. Solidarity.

    I was hoping that for the 9 people who read this and thought "wow, really dude?", 1 person would understand.

  3. I have an impossibly hard time waking up too. It doesn't matter if I have to be up at 7 or 9 or 11. After 30+ years of living in this body, I've accepted it, and stopped beating myself up over it.

    I will never be the lady with perfect make-up every day, and time for a balanced breakfast. Most days I'm pretty pleased if I can manage to leave the house with any makeup on, and a protein shake. I will never be a chipper morning person.

    You know what I am though? A kick-ass night person. I can keep working (or at least thinking and functional) long after most other people are longing for their beds. I'm the friend who will be able to stay up all night with you, whether it's to console a broken heart, or a night out. I'm the coworker who is not annoyingly chipper and lets you get your bearings before talking to you.

    So it balances out, I think. I will always hate mornings, but at least I'll always have evenings.

  4. the light-up alarm clock that we have is truly amazing and it wasn't that expensive AND it isn't ugly. I highly recommend!