I get up either at 5:25am or 6am, without fail. 5:25 if I go to sleep right after the 11 O’clock news or 6am if it’s anytime after, no matter how late. Well, I haven’t tried staying up till 3 or 4am, I think my limit is 1am, even in the early summer when I was working till 2am I think I only managed to sleep till 7 before my eyes opened and there was no closing them again.
I used to get home at 7am, in my early adult days, the days of Pratt and all night parties and Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s and the Ocean Club and Bootie’s disco and the Nursery and most familiarly for me, Club 82 at 82 East 4th Street.
Or the all night poker games where nobody left until one or two guys had cleaned everyone else out. The winner would buy breakfast for all the losers, I was usually amongst that number, and we’d go to Junior’s on DeKalb Ave.
After city outings, as in the aforementioned nightclubs it was usually Ratner’s on Delancey Street.
It’s funny, when I was a kid watching a lot of Black and White Film Noir movies and reading Dashiell Hammet novels I wondered what a nightclub was, and now I was hanging out in them, doing my best Nick Charles/Sam Spade imitations, except in tight jeans, shirts opened to the waist and 4inch platform shoes rather than a suit that fit like a plywood coffin.
I would go to breakfast, and if I had an early class I would go straight to class after a little pick-me-up of whatever chemical stimulant was available.
All of that was laid to rest when I started working regular jobs, and was further eroded by having a child. Child rearing is exhausting even for the most permissive of parents, and besides, you’ve got to be up early to make breakfast.
I also got used to getting up early for other reasons, like the anticipation for the next one, but I’m not going to get into that here.
Working in one place for 17 years will certainly set a biological clock for you, that’s for sure. For 6 of those years I would wake up at 4:30am, needing the alarm clock, of course; and prepare to be at my post by 6:30am. The only times I was ever late were the fault of NYC Transit, thank you.
I guess I got used to it, and due to a certain sleepless winter I also got used to sleeping a lot less than 8 hours. So now after 6 hours or a little less, my eyes open wide and that’s it, I have to get out of bed. If I can see my pillow it’s time to get up.
This is fine at home, where we have 2 bedrooms and a living room that is 18 feet from the bedroom door. I can get up, make my coffee, turn on my computer, and do whatever I want until my more than lovely wife Danusia gets up, after she gets her 8 plus hours of sleep. She is not a morning person, has a hard time formulating sentences when she first gets up.
This of course is since I’ve been out of work, before I would prepare and go, no it’s just one long Sunday morning, at least until everyone is up and I have stuff to do.
Being away from home my routine is naturally upset, but I manage; I’m pretty adaptable.
At our friend Ellen’s home in Salt Point it was pretty easy, I got up, found the Coffee machine (Mr. Coffee) and made myself a cup to go with my morning banana (I’m hooked on that morning banana) and the first view of my computer. I took my old laptop with me on that trip.
When we went to Canada to Danusia’s cousin’s house it was a little different. I couldn’t for the life of me find a coffee maker anywhere, and the kitchen being feet from Jola’s door (the cousin) I didn’t want to go banging around searching for one. I settled for a glass of orange juice and took it down to my temporary sanctuary, in front of the couch in the big entertainment/living room in the lower part of the house, I hate to say basement because it was so beautiful.
Eventually I found one of those Kurig one-cup machines on the bar of all places, but I hate those, the coffee is weak and artificial, anything that comes out of a prepackaged plastic and metal “pod” is bound to taste like shit.
After the ladies got up I found out Jola used a French press to make coffee and I made a mental note of where she put it. The next day I made myself a real cup of coffee, and I washed the French press before they got up.
I found myself the first awake at yet another friends house this weekend, and the coffeemaker (another Mr. Coffee) was right on the counter. What I couldn’t find was the coffee. The first morning I settled for a glass of water. They had bananas in a bin and I helped myself to one of those too.
The second morning I knew it would be another hour and a half till anyone else was awake, and I made a determined search of the kitchen till I found not one, but four different packages of good dark roast, all of it organic. They were all sealed, but I didn’t let that stop me. I cut one open and made myself coffee.
I sat outside on the porch to drink it and watch the sun come up over the fields across the road, casting long shadows on the lawn.
I loved the silence, a silence so intense I could hear my blood throbbing in my ears. Not even the birds were up yet.
I read the latest John LeCarré book and wrote a poem, no doubt influenced by the profound quiet of a totally rural setting. It was cold and I was barefoot, I could see my breath the first two mornings, looking at my iPhone it said it was 52° in Sparks, NY.
Each morning the local rabbit would run across the lawn right in front of me, as if daring me to chase it. Everyone thinks rabbits are these cute little creatures, but they are rodents, just rats with bigger feet and longer ears that will eat all of your crops if you let them.
When I was in the Army my unit went to Germany for a short field exercise. When we were done we were penned up in a fenced in compound on some farmer’s land, much like the land in front of my friend Tessa’s house. One afternoon as I sat with a couple of buddies watching a farmer till his land on a tractor we saw him suddenly stop; get off the tractor and retrieve something from under the blades of the tiller. He picked it up and walked over to our spot just inside of the fence. As he approached I could see it was something limp, brown and furry.
When he got to the fence he held up his prize, a dead rabbit that had been cleanly sliced through the head.
“Essen?” He said.
“Sure, we’ll essen,” I said. “Give it here,” someone else said holding a hand up. The farmer tossed the rabbit over the fence and we skinned it and cooked it in a helmet with some carrots and an onion the farmer was kind enough to toss us later. It was delicious.