Larks versus night owls

How many times do we
hear ourselves (or someone else) say “I am/am not a morning person” in a
lifetime?  Maybe it was the alarm going
off at 4:30 a.m. last Saturday in Calgary, wrenching me from my happy slumber
to warn me that I had a flight to catch that made me come down firmly on the
“am not” side.  I was puffy-eyed and
shambling as I mechanically went through the teeth brushing and face washing
ritual, completely unfit for public viewing. 
Yessir, I was pretty bitter that frosty morn as I dragged my suitcases
to the car, but once I became more reasonable an hour or so later, I remembered
when early mornings didn’t bother me at all. 
I’d get up, be bright and chirpy, and eager to see what the day had in
store.  I think I was eight years old.

Is it an age thing,
or are some of us truly better than others at greeting the sun as it peeks over
the horizon (an entity, I might add, that has no choice but to rise at the
crack of dawn each day regardless of how it feels)?  Any new parent has a skewed opinion of what
constitutes a “lie-in” compared to the rest of us.  A friend of mine with a baby recently told me
that her son is now sleeping through the night and “not waking up until 6:00
a.m.” with almost a tear in her eye as though that was sheer heaven.  6:00 a.m. 
Heaven.  As I screwed up my face,
I thought back to when I was a child – one of four to be exact – who regularly
arose early, particularly when we were on family vacations.  We would be up and watching I Dream of
Jeannie while guys in the Army were still sleeping.  Christmas Day was another date on the
calendar when Mum and Dad could look forward to little or no rest.  They had to wait for all of us to fall
asleep, and then Santa and Mrs. Claus filled the stockings, assembled THAT
bicycle and crammed cookies and milk down throats in near complete darkness
before being allowed about an hour in dreamland.  The chaos would begin around 5:00 a.m. and
even though they tried to have us wait until it was at least light outside,
they knew it was a losing battle.  It
truly must be a thrill to watch your children open and play with their presents
on Christmas morning.  That, and a lot of
coffee, is probably how parents make it through the day without passing out
from exhaustion.

Of course this desire
to rise with the rooster quickly died as school days took hold.  We went from leaping out of our beds to being
glued to them.  My mother would try to
wake the four of us up, and it was an uphill battle every day.  I could hear her feet heading in my direction
along the hallway.  A strong knock at the
door “Come on Vicki, time to get up!” 
“Okay!” I would yell back, waiting for her to go and announce the dawn
to a sibling so I could promptly try to catch another five minutes’
snooze.  When the footsteps returned, I
had to look as though I’d been up in all that time and making progress – a
monumental effort.  Inevitably we’d be
running to the car, shoes in hand, arguing about who got what seats.  My mother is a saint.

There is nothing like
the working world to bring on a rude awakening – literally.  You are grown up, independent,
responsible….in other words, you must own an alarm clock.  Although I had a day job, I had dreams of
stardom, and so in my early twenties I joined a band.  We started off playing on Saturday nights, so
of course that was no big deal – sleep in on Sundays.  When we started getting gigs on Tuesday
nights, however, it was a whole different ball of wax.  The first set began at 10:00 p.m. and we’d be
finished at 1:00 a.m.  Then we had to
break down the gear, sit and chat about the evening, and generally make it home
for about 3:00 a.m.  It is amazing to me
that I had no real difficulties waking up for work the next morning.  People ask me why I don’t start up another
band.  I’d be happy to if I didn’t have
to work in the day, otherwise fuggedaboutit! 
Do you know why people like Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler can still do
what they’re doing at their age?  It’s
because they can sleep until 2:00 p.m. every day.  When was the last time you saw the Rolling
Stones performing at breakfast?

Apparently as we get
older, we go back to waking up early.  So
is it age or personality?  I have my
answer thanks to my good friend Sa-Rah. 
She is in her late twenties, vivacious and full of life…until about 8:00
p.m.  She has attended parties, happy
hours and social events only to excuse herself to “collect my thoughts” once
the moon is in full view.  I don’t know
if there’s an opposite creature to a werewolf, but she’s it.  She cannot keep her eyes open when the rest
of us are just starting to get into the swing of things.  She’s heard about these places called
Nightclubs, but maybe they are just a myth. 
My role as Maid-of-Honour at her nuptials last year was to clear out the
back seat of my SUV so she could fall asleep on it in her wedding dress whilst
the groom was in full Riverdance mode with the rest of the guests.  I rest my case.  Age has nothing to do with it.  I applaud those people who arise with the
sun, enjoy their paper, perhaps go for a brisk walk (or jog – yikes!) and greet
the day in a relaxed fashion.  Me, I’m a
night person.  Give me a panicky,
get-up-at-the-last-minute morning any day of the week.  I ain’t never gonna be GI Jane.