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A.ctive M.orons

By Tom “luna-ticklish” Waters
December 1 , 2001

If it were up to me, the hustle and bustle of the outside world wouldn’t be set into motion until 12 P.M.  Morning people not only impose upon my grumpy AM stupor, but, because they make up the majority, they run things.  If they aren’t shoveling concentrated bran flakes, slamming carrot juice, and watching a morning show with the intellectual content of glue paste, they’re jogging, stirring up a flurry of pre-work activity, or taking part in some other odd morning ritual.  I am an alien in the realm of morning consciousness, and, due to classes, I’m just going to have to learn how to bob and weave away from the sun-up stooges who control this time frame in order to avoid casualties and unexpected prison confinement.

Now everyone has a four or five hour pocket of time in their day where they are at their peak performance; fully awake, alert, and content.  10 P.M. to 2 or 3 in the morning is mine.  That’s the cards that were dealt to me, so I’ll just have to deal with them.  Around that time, I’m happy, peppy, and productive.  After trial and error, this seems to be my best writing pocket, temporally speaking.  The rest of the day, I shuffle about groggily, fueling and refueling my frame with caffeine and nicotine (this writer’s two staples of psuedo-sentience).  I prefer being awake in the evening because I can go out and party with friends, spend some quiet me-time alone reading,  or composing another Perdue /Pulitzer prize-winner in the sanctity of my hobbit-hole.  I don’t bother anyone.  I soft-shoe through my house, trying not to wake anybody, if just for the sake of common courtesy.

Morning people have to get right in your face, though.  They can’t be happy that they’re running things, they have to annoy the bejesus out of their arch-nemesis as well.  As soon as they get up, it begins.  My parents are both morning people.  Mom thumps down the stairs at quarter to seven and starts the coffee maker.  Coffee drinking should be the tip-off to spotting a morning person.  They like their coffee, oh yes. Then she proceeds to turn on every home appliance in the household.  Clothes-dryers, dish-washers, ceiling-fans, furnaces, garage door openers, and cat-recyclers all start roaring with the hydraulic zoom of activity.  In the meantime, my father is out of his room and kick starting his razor (a 1940 model that can’t be much louder than the cat recycler).  When he’s in a good mood, he’ll take his shower, watch the birds out the back window, and trot off to work.  But if he gets up on the wrong side of the cave, he’ll bunny hop down the stairs, bang on the door, and bellow “ARE YOU UP YET?  ARE YOU GONNA SLEEP IN ALL DAY OR WHAT?”  Yet another observation I’ve uncovered concerning these strange fore-noon freaks.  Morning people like to mess with others if they’re in a bad mood rather than just be miserable.

If I’ve still managed to stay asleep, my mom will bellow down the stairs to get up. If I’m not up a couple nanoseconds after she hollers, she trots down the stairs, turns on every light in my room, and nags me in that special nagging voice only mothers have: “Get up, Thom-as, time for school.”  While the morning-morons have their grape-nuts, banana, and coffee, I empty the flat, flavorless cola leftover from the previous evening’s events into anything that will hold fluid and stumble outside with an unlit cigarette jutting from my lips.  I usually sit in the back yard so that I don’t have to exchange friendly salutations to the joggers and dog-walkers full of zest and verve as they swivel their hermetically spandexed pelvises down the street.  As a rule, I’m too crotchety to speak to anyone for the first half-hour of consciousness if I get up before noon.  Again, I’m not bothering anybody, just drinking some carbonated life-blood, smoking my Camel, and eating what assorted lung-flakes I produce.   Dad takes this as a cue to come out and exchange witty banter with me while he feeds the birds:

“How’s it going today, fuzz-top?”

“Get the hell away from me.”

I go inside and prepare my breakfast (anything easily accessible with no nutritional value that can be shoveled into the mouth), hoping that no one else in the house will antagonize me.  My little brother bounces up and down in his chair, already visibly buzzed from his two or three bowls of Cocoa Blasts.  “What’s the square root of a hypotenuse, Tom?”  He always asks me complex questions right after I wake up.  “Leave me alone, Dave, before we find out what color that spoon changes when I stick it up your.... (you get the picture)” Then, after he leaves, my mother interrogates me while she mills about in the kitchen putting away hot crockery from the dishwasher.  “So how’s your boss’ pet iguana doing?” she’ll start in, hoping to move on to the meat of her agenda. “I’m still asleep, don’t talk to me.”  After everyone is gone, I try to go back to sleep for a few minutes (with the sedate sounds of morning talk shows to aid me) thinking foolishly that I’ll gather the reserve of A.M. energy that morning people seem to have, but fail miserably and end up grumpier because of it.  So I swagger out the door and to my car, and in my stupor, slam a limb in the door. This leads to my first bout of cursing for the day (an often occurrence when I get up early). While most of the Active Morons are receiving Nazi instructions from their lord and master, Rush Lim-blah, I tune into Stern (his cynical depression is just the thing to hear when I’m not quite shuffling with a full deck yet). 

I flick a lit cigarette at one of the ante-meridian clones walking into the donut-shop (that’s where they congregate, in case you didn’t know the location of their headquarters) and park at a convenient mart to seek out another carbonated catheter.  I have to wait in line behind some pre-afternoon clown cracking jokes and envision how funny he’d be with that newspaper of his protruding from his nose (a lot funnier, actually).  Yeah, they like their newspapers all right.  After close inspection, I’ve noticed that the morning edition has some sort of Morse code on the ends of each page.  I presume that this contains daily tips on keeping us in the dark (pun without trying) about their covert operations.  After paying for my outrageously expensive industrial drum fountain drink, I slink back into my yuppie-mobile where I can fork out the crusts in my eyes and fluff out the waffle of hair on one side of my head.  We evening peoples are known to display those traits around the ass-crack of dawn.

Yeah, you morning people may have your fancy coffee -n- donut shops, your banal traffic reports, and your morning paper, but I’m onto your little game.  Evening folks aren’t quite as gullible as you think.  When you go to bed at seven P.M. with your mamsy pansy slippers, glass of warm milk, and flowery robes, think about how we’re up standing vigil over the world and plotting your messy overthrow.  We bay at the moon, drink our evening elixirs, and watch our evening talk-shows.  You try and sleep while I’m out taking my da ily two A.M. bike ride past your house.  The difference between an early bird and a night-owl is essentially the difference between light and dark.  Morning people are mercurially happy, whistling through their days, while evening folks have a dark, dangerous, unpredictable air about them.  If the other side would keep their distance, I could learn to live among them.  In the time being, though, I hope the early bird spits up a worm sometime later in the day.


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