You know, I realize this now, as I board my train into the city every morning, hop off at LaSalle, and navigate through a mass of people darting about like dense schools of fish, unarguably more put-together than I. People wearing lipstick. People with their hair in beautiful professional updos, sleekly styled bobs, and well-gelled spikes. People with the steady stare of the remarkably awake, people holding travel mugs of coffee they woke up early enough to brew, people without the intricate crinkles of a balled-up makeshift hoodie pillow embedded deeply in their cheek and forehead. People unlike me.

The thing is, I actually consider myself a morning person now. Sort of. If everything’s relative, I am a morning person. No longer the bitchy vampire who will either bite or perish upon waking before noon, since graduating college, I now typically wake up between 6-7:30 AM, regardless of whether I have to work. And I enjoy being awake much of the morning, which is another argument on the side of “probable morning person.”

But no matter how many bio-rhythmic patterns I change as I lunge further into adulthood, I cannot comprehend this sunny-side-up metropolis lousy with gorgeous, polished bastards who look like actual people before 10 AM. What the hell? Where did you shop for your body, because my body is apparently defective. I got a janky one.

For starters, I think I’m part Puli. Where everyone else’s hair seems to be light, dry, and fluffy as a Snuggle bear by 7:30 AM, my hair hangs damp and stuck to my head until I get into the office, whereupon I walk to the women’s washroom, hang out like a creep until it’s vacated, and quickly throw my head under the hand dryer until I hear the click of the door opening. Then I straighten myself up with enormous, blown-out curls standing straight up from my head and try to awkwardly act like I was just chilling next to a hand dryer that happens to be on. Sometimes I throw in an incredulous look at the thing for good measure. “Who did that? Weird…”

This is ridiculous, I realize. Mostly, it is too early for me to think fast and play it off like I was just drying my hands. Especially since my hair is always about one fluff away from a Diana Ross female impersonator at that moment. I’ve also been caught a few times in the act, always to slight nervous laughter from the person who catches me. And, like… shut up. Like, hey there, princess—not all of us wake up to doves and singing mice helping us get ready. You’re lucky I showered.

And shoes. How do people look so put-together with their shoes? How they’ve done it alludes me. Generally, I don’t like wearing shoes that much. I got hippie feet, and I like ‘em. But I think the function of shoes, when necessary, is simply so that I don’t amass an urban collection of glass and cigarette butts on my feet as I meander about. And beyond that, I have a hard time getting myself to put effort into footwear—especially in the morning, when my choice of footwear is solely contingent upon “Is it raining?”

I mean, I do tend to prefer the more attractive shoes to the less attractive shoes, I guess, but as an equal opportunity employer, I generally employ both to do my fancy footwork with an admirable equality, I think. And even my pretty shoes don’t ever actually match what I’m wearing. The hell? They have to match what I’m wearing? They’re on my feet! Madness, and I don’t know how you all put up with this every day.

How is it that some people glide gracefully, eyes sparkling, down the sidewalk and into their jobs while I stare listlessly at the ground, running into wall corners, and sighing audibly as I shuffle along? Also, I’m pretty sure many of the mornings I have a slight limp until I fully wake up. Hunchback is the only way I know before I’ve had my caffeine. Why am I the only one? Damn you bitches not cramming 3 Excedrin down your dry and scratchy preprandial AM throat. How do you do it?

Where have all the cavemen gone?! My people.

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Miss Near-Miss

March 8, 2010

Here’s one little arcane morsel of wisdom about the universe I seem to have acquired during my short stay here in this life: pretty much anything attempted before 10 AM is going to have a few practice runs before it is accomplished. And this is all the way from the important things, like work tasks, down to the minutia of the morning. It is compulsive. I am unable to skip the practice runs. I will perform any given action a healthy few times before I do it correctly.

I mean, I was in theatre. I know the importance of dress rehearsal. I assume this is what this is cosmically all about, why I am destined—why many of us are destined—to do this. Yeah, that’s right. I’ve overheard you talking. It’s not just me.

For instance, in order to fully prepare to grasp what time it is at any point in the morning, I need to go through a few reps first (I assume to get the motions down perfectly). Okay, the train is coming into the station. Is it on time? I glance down at the time on my phone. Okay… I could really go for a bagel. I walk halfway to the office. Wait, was it on time? Am I going to be on time? What time did the phone say? I look again, nod but store no information to my memory, put the phone away, and ooo—shiny thing! Shiny thiiiing!!! Now I’m about to cross the street to my building. Wait, so was I on time? What time of day is it? Did I fall asleep and it’s afternoon now? No way of possibly knowing. I glance again, satisfied, but not storing the information. …So why do beagles look nothing like Snoopy? Does Woodstock migrate? I get to the elevator. Um, seriously though. What time is it? I peer at my phone again and put it in my pocket, then feel my scalp for evidence of head injuries. I now have gotten five steps away from my desk. Have I arrived here at the same time I always do? I check my phone in the final stretch just before I sit down to my cubicle where I will be surrounded by no less than three things that will all tell me the time, but now the time on my phone finally sticks. 8:52 AM, right there on the front of my cell phone. Yup, normal time.

See, and I have to assume I would never have been able to have gotten the time if I hadn’t done all that rehearsing of the precise hand movements it takes to read my phone clock. Thanks, universe.

The same applies to things like the first step out of bed, which often bears repeating for good measure. Alright, Hofer—stand. *stands up, teeters* Noooope, sit right back down again. Possibly curl back up into former sleep pretzel position in order to have a totally fresh restart. Okay. Now, stand. *stands up, dismount* Nailed it! Thank god I practiced.

Even retrieving my key pass (which electronically grants me access to the doors at work) from my pocket so’s I can buzz myself into my job seems to require daily honing, oddly enough. Like, I get inside the building and reach into my pocket to grab my key pass. I instead pull out my left glove and hold it in my hand all the way to the elevator. Okay, good, Hofer. That is a similar motion to grabbing your key pass. I notice I’m holding a glove and put it back in my pocket. Shaking my head, I now reach into my pocket and pull out my bus pass, holding it firmly in my hand. I press the button for my floor and begin my ascent. Okay, closer now. We have part of the word correct—“pass”. Good! Dry run #2 accomplished. Now, put it away. I realize I’m holding my bus pass, sigh heavily, and put it back in my pocket, thinking about the things I have to do when I get to my desk. Meanwhile, I now pull out my car keys and prepare them to open the door to my office on the 18th floor. Hmm. Nope. No. Alright, the other part of the word is now present—“key”. Excellent job, Hofer! You are now prepared to correctly pull out your key pass. It dawns on me as I get to the clear glass doors which guard my office that I’m standing there holding a set of car keys, like an idiot. I plunge them back into my pocket, this time able to pull out my key pass with nary a problem.

See? Practice.

Oy.