Friday, June 03, 2005

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

When Son-One started kindergarten (lo these many years ago now), I penned an outraged entry in my spiral notebook journal about the cruelty of schedules. Whether laziness or some high-minded principle, I have always been very averse to schedules. Yeah, yeah, they're a fact of civilized life, we couldn't get along without them...but I'm for them only where they're absolutely necessary. Consequently, when the kiddies were preschool age and all home, their inner clocks were much more in charge than any that hung on a wall or sat on a night table. I'll admit that it may have made for a harder than average adjustment (for the grown-ups, at least) when it came time to be somewhere every day at a prescribed time, but the rest of the time, it was infinitely easier to go with the flow than to battle daily (hourly) in vain to get four little personalities to conform to some preconceived notion about the right time to do this or that. These days, of course, we are a houseful of people at the mercy of schedules.

Still not a convert to the wisdom of schedules, I fight them every step of the way with pointless and quiet rebellion. This week, my bedside alarm clock is 44 minutes fast--sometimes it's even faster than that and sometimes it's a little closer to right, but it is never truly right. Each night I set the alarm for at least half an hour before I have to actually get up, giving me plenty of opportunities to hit the snooze bar. I'm a snooze bar expert--can hit that sucker without even lifting my head off the pillow. Hubby, to put it mildly, is not impressed with my morning routine. I have tried repeatedly to explain to him that the feeling of getting away with something is worth all the hassle. According to my clock, I sleep in every single morning. I understand, intellectually, that I'm not actually sleeping longer, but my intellect doesn't kick in until noon on a good day. Strangely, with my system, I am wider awake when I do finally get up than I would be if my clock was set for the right time and I got up with the first buzz. It takes a lot of complicated math to figure out what time it really is and how many more times the snooze is going to go off before I actually have to get out of bed--really gets those mental juices flowing.

And I need every ounce of that alertness when dealing with my children at that early hour. Not one of them is what you'd call a morning person--morning demon, maybe. They're surly and mean, growling at one another and their long-suffering mother. On Tuesday morning, I had called Son-Three downstairs repeatedly as the clock inched toward and then past the last possible minute to leave and still be to school on time. When finally he came stumbling down the steps with a grimace carved into his face, he said (very loudly, I might add), "JEEZ! Why do you have to yell?"

Perhaps, dear son, I yell for the same reason you yell in the morning--we have been awakened at this ungodly hour by the whims of the school board and the needs of the buying public. It is cruel, it is inhumane. We are cranky rats in an endless maze.

Resistance is futile...but it's all we've got.

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