Friday, March 9, 2012

A fowl inequality

It is sometimes that case that a group of people with a specific characteristic or “special interest” get privileges in the name of equal rights that others are denied. I’m not a confrontational person, but there is a group who is by no means a majority yet has a particular behavior which infringes unfairly on my life, and while I risk being labeled prejudice I cannot in all good conscience remain silent any longer.

I’m talking to you early risers. Yes you—the ones who are able to be in deep sleep at 5:30 a.m. and at 5:31 a.m. are completely awake, alert and—dare I say?—sparky.
My journey to wakefulness—which is by the way, completely natural—begins between eight and nine a.m. with slurred thoughts and leaden limbs that gradually become clearer and lighter over maybe a half hour. My first consciousness thought when I wake is “Oh, I’m alive then.” This thought is repeated a few minutes later when I wake a second time. Ditto that thought with each waking—no snooze alarm needed—until I can not only think but move. Having just woken up, the majority of my conscience in a befuddled state of woozy emergence, I need the concentration of a chess grand master to walk to the bathroom without falling over. Far from waking me up, a morning shower is something I actually have to concentrate on so as not to fall asleep in it. It is not unknown for me to discover that the reason I can’t put on my trousers is because I have put my shoes on already. And don’t expose me to noise or bright lights during this period or I shall become a nasty little Gremlin indeed.

This is not my choice; it’s just how it is.

I’m far from unique in how my body wakes but somehow the early risers have the entire working western world convinced that their way of operating is the only right way and everything else is unnatural.

For a start, most of the working realm starts at 8 a.m. if not before—though if you want to be recognized for promotion getting up even earlier is recommended. That’s a double disadvantage for all late risers.  Even if we get ourselves to an office that early, we sit there, disheveled lumps of humanity with our bloodshot eyes and nebulous hair, scaring everyone that comes near.

Then, it is perfectly acceptable for early risers to throw their fast-spoken, well-enunciated insults at me first thing in the morning while I’m still bleary about how they are chipper and alert and ready to be productive but how I can barely stand up without swaying precariously. 

“Good morning sleeping beauty” they smirk, “is someone not quite awake yet?” knowing full well I can’t retort because my brain functions engage one at a time and the bit which registers sarcasm is behind more essential functions like keeping my eyes open and breathing.

And the world accepts it as their right to do this. Mid-morning, slow-to-start risers have just as many productive hours, they just happen at different times. No one ever talks about my ability to be alert into the later hours. I’m typing this at half past midnight and am feeling quite attentive thank you very much.

Night Owls we’re known as, and I’d rather be that than an ‘early bird.’ At least I have an assigned species. In referring to themselves they use the nonspecific ‘early bird’ because the bird in question would logically have to be the rooster, and everybody knows that the sole purpose of the Rooster, bird or person, is to be really annoying in the mornings through noise. Owls are cool. Being an owl is a complete hoot.

If the early birds can make fun of the night owls in the morning, the night owls should be given equal opportunity to make fun of the early birds in the later hours when they get drowsy. But currently, in our some-sleepers-are-more-equal-than-others society, it’s considered inappropriate behavior to wake early birds up at 2300 hours just to rub our wakefulness in their groggy faces. “Who’s chipper and alert and ready to be productive now? No don’t worry—the rest of the world will continue to turn just fine without you.”

Why do early birds have the right to comment on their wakefulness while night owls are waking up, but it’s inappropriate for night owls to comment on early bird’s sleepiness when their fading? How does this inequality continue? When will I have an equal chance for sleepy retort?

These…these are the questions that keep me awake at night.

1 comment:

  1. The early bird may get the worm, so to speak.
    But the early worm gets eaten.