I’m not a morning person. Ask anyone.
When I was a kid my folks had to use a garden hose to flush me out of bed if I were to get my newspapers delivered before the evening news came on. In college I tried to schedule classes as late in the day as possible because the night time was the right time, don’t you know.
As a dropout I worked a janitorial gig — total night shift, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. And a couple years after I returned to college and got that old sheepskin my newspaper career settled down into shifts of mostly 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on one copy desk or another.
So, yeah. I don’t like mornings unless I can face them on my own terms. This means arising slowly, gradually, easing into the day as though it were an overly hot tub.
Alas, with Herself elsewhere, as she is today, that hot tub is more like an icy pond.
Herself does not object to mornings in principle. She gets up and gets busy, wrangling dog and cats and coffee, while I enjoy an extra hour or two of watching whichever movie happens to be showing on the inside of my eyelids. My participation in the morning ritual mostly involves sitting in the reading room, staring dumbly at the rumbling furnace register, as Turkish describes figure-eights around my ankles before leaping into the sink for a drink.
When Herself is in absentia, I have to assume a slightly more active role.
At dark-thirty Buddy sounds his version of “Reveille,” a single note — “Yap!” — as the imprisoned cats drag the hallway carpet underneath the basement door. Unless I want to hear it again — and again, and again, and again — I have to drag my big ass out of bed and chuck his little ass outside.
Next I liberate the Turk’ and Miss Mia Sopaipilla, who demand a hearty breakfast after their long, dark night of unconstitutional detention without charge or even probable cause. The former gets straight to work on a bowl of kibble while the latter enjoys an aperitif of heavy whipping cream before diving into the crunchies.
A depleted Buddy rejoins the party and gets his own bowlful of breakfasty goodness, after which I stumble downstairs to see what fresh horrors the cats have left in the litter box. After a nostril-scorching few moments of turd dispersal I totter back upstairs to get the coffee started, which involves a bit of dishwashing as some eejit forgot to run the dishwasher last night.
As the java bubbles, so does Buddy. Full of chow and good humor, he locates a toy and begins chomping on it rhythmically — squeaka squeaka squeaka — as I pour a cup and try to decipher the morning news. Squeaka squeaka squeaka makes more sense than pretty much anything being attributed to Those In Authority. The temptation to add a dollop of 12-year-old Redbreast to the coffee is nearly irresistible.
Happily, things begin to settle down and the whiskey bottle remains corked. It’s time for the post-breakfast nap. Mia snoozes in a donut atop the ’fridge, while Buddy beds down in his kennel. The Turk’ is last to fade. In his capacity as field marshal of the 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment he inspects the perimeter from various windowsills before finally settling down in the Tower of Power in the living room.
Peace. At last. Time to get some work done.
Squeaka squeaka squeaka. …