Friday, July 10, 2009
Travel, Mornings, and Routines
My biggest challenge in life is to reconcile myself to other people’s paces and respective speeds.
Slowness is to me what disco was to music: overall, not such a good idea.
Answers like, "Dude, I read that a LONG time ago, like last Wednesday, you know?" are ubiquitous. And the funny thing is, I'm serious when I reply in that fashion. The distance from a Wednesday to a Friday is, to me, a long one.
I suppose, we all have distinctly unique relationships to time and, as of late, I've recognized that I have a different relationship to time during different points of time in the day.
Let me explain.
I take time to get ready for the day in the morning. It usually takes me 1.5-2 hours to reach a ripe state of full alertness. Experientially, this is something that a sleep-economizer would so get. So, if I need to be alert and chipper, well the latter is a stretch, let’s try the former first, by 8:00 AM, then wake-up time needs to be 6-ish.
I need to inform myself about the news, possibly simultaneously, i.e., by reading the news while having morning cable news commentary shows in the background. I call it information multi-tasking. In layman terms, it rocks my world.
Then, I need to attend to my non-work email, synch my gadgets, eat my high-protein, low-carb breakfast, and take my hot drink.
If/when the routine gets interrupted, I tend to say, I am told, "Let it go. It's my thing."
If I allow myself to ease into the day, I can function most beautifully and accomplish all I need to and more. So, varying speeds do balance themselves out. While I move at a nigh maniacal speed on a regular basis, I do have a couple of hours in the AM which I block off entirely. In the privacy of the BR existence, this is called silent time where I don't have to produce speech and I don't require that it be produced either.
Granted, two hours in the AM sounds pretty luxurious. Well, seen in the right perspective it's not all that flashy. If I need to be up at 5AM, then an optimal day would require that the wake-up/get ready routine start at 3AM. Sleep-economizers are people who want to unwind too, after all.
Now, the economy-informed person in me feels, at times, a tad decadent about this routine. It's after all two hours of a day. Of course, others spend it sleeping, ergo it's fine, I suppose.
And now the story can be recounted.
Recently I found myself on a very busy street of a big metropolis. I couldn’t find my usual travel mug hence I poured my morning drink into a home cup and rushed out as something came up. So, there I was waiting for the stop sign to turn green as I was sipping my morning drink trying to get into a silent time frame of mind as if I were in the comfort of my own home. I chuckled at the stark contrast between the comfort of my place and the uber-busy metropolis and as I was lost in thought, a gentleman approached me smilingly and with a chipper disposition.
“Having a good morning, I hope?” To which I said while sipping my morning drink, “Yeah. Yup. Yes.” As I did so I thought to myself. 'Well, don’t be a heathen. Respond properly to the nice man. He seems to be deserving of a good, solid yes.' So, that I did. We proceed to pass the intersection together and in a space of 40 meters or so I learned about the infrastructure of the city, why there’s a strike that’s having an impact on trash collections, and, more importantly, what time of the year the city is at its best self.
I believe that cities paint, more often than not, a pretty accurate portrait of the overall psychology of their inhabitants. You know you’re in a friendly space when the usual inhabitants of said space, exercise their civic duty and inform their warm-drink-sipping, fast-walking, barely awake visitors.
When I met the kind man, I had only been up for a max of twenty-five minutes. However, an information-jammed space of 40 meters was enough to kick things into gear so I could reach my usual state of alertness.
I should do this more often, I tell myself. I could save myself 1 hour and 59 minutes every AM.
graph per http://www.markpascua.com/wp-content/coffee-mug-camera-lens.jpg