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.

Here’s why.

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.

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Josh said...

I just noticed this from one of your previous posts back in May...

It's the first thing I noticed this morning. It helped me 'get ready' for my day. I second the motion.

"Music is so big that it consumes the totality of my attention.
In that regard, it eclipses everything and everybody else. Bar none. I've come to accept this as a character trait, actually. I know what my limits are and I most surely know how to frame everything else around it."

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the 'angle' of this piece. Just the other day I was thinking of how happy I am now to have to the point where I make time to recognize the little things. I find myself understanding the bigger things much better as a result.

I get that routine. Only mine is later during the day. I dug this.

Where did you find the lens cup? Genius concept whoever came up with it. I'll now let you to your routine as it's not yet 8 am back East. :)

Anonymous said...

No calls before 8. Got it. Texting?

Shane said...

This read very a-la-Reiseliteratur to me. Cool.

JJ said...

Right. I know better than to call pre-8, as well.
The city-walking imagery was quite a thing to read this afternoon.

Sra said...

I'm a completely non-morning-person. If I had things my way, I'd bed down at about 2:-4:AM, stir around 10:AM, and be up and about my day by about 12:PM optimistically and 1:PM realistically. Alas, the world does not pace itself my way.

After my first semester at college, I quickly learned that it was not a good idea to schedule a class before 9:45, which is about the best I can comfortably do. My average arrival time at work is 9:30.

I'm kind of worried about being able to wake up in time for the earlier law school schedule.

I think you are onto something with trying to ease into your day. Maybe I will give it a shot.

Becca said...

Interesting notion. I often think about time, my time more specifically, in terms of distance or place, rather. It makes better sense to me.
Oh, I meant to mention this, too. In his heterotopias, Foucault also observes that it's not 'time' that's the thing to concern one's self with but rather space, more specifically, alternative spaces like heterotopias.....
Anyway, thought would refer to it.
Bruno? Reviewing it?

Becca said...

Oh, was it as Euro as you predicted it would be, btw?