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2009.11.28 Monday Morning Myopia

posted Nov 28, 2009, 2:36 PM by Troy Cheek   [ updated Nov 29, 2009, 6:24 AM ]
I didn't wake up Sunday morning because I never did go to bed on Saturday night...

Whenever I have to get up at any particular time, whether to go to work or keep an appointment or something like that, I set the alarm clock.  I don't like alarm clocks.  I would much prefer to just sleep until I feel rested and only then go about my day.  Unfortunately, I've yet to find an employer who will let me work just when I feel like it.

Curiously enough, although the alarm clock waking me from a deep sleep does give me quite the adrenaline rush, I quickly find myself dozing back off.  The snooze button becomes my new best friend.  I may visit my new best friend four or five times in a given morning.  The rush fades.  I find myself still sleepy, maybe even still half asleep, in spite of the fact that I'm now vertical.  Please don't say "I bet you're a bear until you've had your morning coffee."  I never did learn to like coffee, so I don't drink it.  I find it oily and bitter and it makes my head spin.  On coffee, I'm still tired; I'm just tired while moving really fast in tight little circles.

Another reason I don't like alarm clocks is the power the alarm has over me.  If I wake up gradually and naturally, then roll over to see that the alarm hasn't gone off yet, I somehow feel obligated to at least try to go back to sleep.  I'm awake.  I'm alert.  I'm ready to face the day.  If I had an employer who would let me, I'd be ready to clock in.  Yet, somehow the fact that it's not the exact time I programmed into the alarm clock means that I have to go back to sleep.  Likewise, if I hit the snooze button, even if I'm awake and ready to get up, I feel that I have to stay in bed until the snooze timer runs out.

Then there's what I call Autopilot Syndrome.  Once I'm awake, or at least vertical, sometimes it seems that my mind switches off and my body operates on autopilot.  I have found myself in the shower with no memory of getting there.  I have found myself completely dressed with no memory of even thinking about clothes.  I have found myself halfway to work with no memory of even getting into the truck.  Fortunately, it seems that the autopilot always remembers the showering and clothing parts before it puts me in the truck.

According to friends in the mental health field, I'm not actually doing these things in my sleep.  I'm fully conscious and alert the whole time.  My mind just doesn't think these events are remarkable enough to flag them as special in my memory.  Looking back on any particular morning, anyone would be hard pressed to remember all the details.

"Well, I got up at 6AM.  Not that I remember getting up at 6AM, but I always get up at 6AM.  I had bacon and eggs for breakfast.  No, I don't remember having bacon and eggs for breakfast, but I usually do have them, and I don't remember cooking anything special.  I drove to work on the interstate.  Yes, I do sometimes take the old country road, but I usually only do that when the traffic is backed up on the interstate, and I don't remember anything like that on that day."

The only thing that makes me even slightly special in this regard is that sometimes I suddenly realize that I don't remember the details of a particular morning while I'm still experiencing that particular morning.  While this is unsettling for me, it's nothing worth devoting any study time towards.  My antisocial tendencies, on the other hand...

I sometimes experience early morning stares.  I suddenly realize that I've been staring at nothing for several minutes.  Just happens.

The other early morning malady I experience is something I like to call Monday Morning Myopia.  I doesn't happen just on Mondays, and it's more tunnel vision than myopia, but Monday Morning Myopia just has a nice ring to it.

Monday Morning Myopia means that I don't see anything except what I'm looking for.  If I'm on my way to the bathroom, I don't notice the water leak in the hallway.  If I'm on my way to the refrigerator, I don't notice my brother asleep on the couch.  If I'm on my way to work, I don't notice the house on fire next door.  Only after I've been up for a few hours am I my usual observant self.

For example, recently most of the family went out of town for a vacation.  I stayed home because a) somebody has to take care of the animals, and b) because my days off from work didn't match up with their days off.  I had just fed the fish and had decided that since it was still dark and cold that I could put off feeding the pony until after I got home from work.  His lot is way on the other side of the property anyway.  I stumbled out to the truck.  For the first time, I noticed that it was below freezing and that there was half an inch of ice on the windshield.

One of the problems with living in the boonies is that the "local" weather forecast is actually the forecast for whatever major metropolitan area you happen to live within broadcast distance of.  Your coworkers can't understand why you had to break the ice off the door handle before you could get into your truck when it's sunny and 40F there at the plant.  Yeah, but it was 28F two hours ago over in the mountains.

Since I couldn't find my ice scraper, I was scraping with a scrap of plastic I found.  I was grumbling to myself about the unfairness of it all when something shoved me up against the truck.  This scared the dickens out of me for two reasons: 1) I knew I was all alone at the house that day, and 2) I knew that I had not seen anyone in the driveway when I had walked out to the truck only seconds before.

I twirled around holding up my scrap of plastic as if it were a deadly weapon.  I forced my high-pitched squeal of panic into a menacing growl.  I gritted my teeth and prepared for battle.  My adrenal glands kicked in.  I swung around and faced my attacker.

My attacker was the pony, who ignored my threat display and gave me another friendly nudge.

Charles W. Horse, III, also known as Charlie Horse, allowed himself to be led back to his little pony lot.  The gate was still closed, but I seriously believe that he's learned not only how to open it himself, but how to close it afterwards.  Charlie snickered appreciatively when I fed and watered him.  At least, I told myself he was snickering appreciatively and not just snickering at me.

The scary part is not that the pony let himself out of his lot or that the pony wandered by himself over to the main house.  The scary part is that I had to have walked around a 400 pound animal to get to my truck and didn't notice him until he shoved me.