Morning People

“Good morning, sunshine!”

It was my husband speaking.

“Shhhhh,” I said. Or “mmmmphh.” Or maybe I didn’t say anything at all. Words are hard.

“It’s going to be a nice day!” he said. So loud. Why is he so loud?

It was my own fault. The night before, I told him I needed to be up to make it to an appointment. It seemed like a good idea at the time. He’s what they call a lark, my husband. He sets an alarm sometimes, but usually only if he has to catch an early flight. He says things like, “Wow. It’s 5:17. I really slept in today!” He says these things out loud, in real time, while people — normal human beings who are not aliens — are still asleep. Right next to him.

What was I saying?

Oh, right. Paul is a lark. He’s always up anyway, so it makes sense to have him help me out and make sure I don’t sleep through an alarm.

It makes all kinds of sense, except that my husband in the morning is a chirpy tweety cheerful tsunami. He’s chatty. He asks questions. Worse, he seems to expect coherent answers. Like, he’s thinking of making dippy eggs for breakfast and does that sound good. Do you know what sounds good? Silence. Blessed, golden silence.

Listen, I love dippy eggs (that’s eggs over easy for those of you who insist on using boring names for things). Even more, I love dippy eggs that magically appear on the table without my having lifted a finger. I am abjectly grateful for hot breakfasts I don’t have to cook. But the cooking is done in the kitchen. If anything must be discussed about said breakfasts, surely it could be discussed in the kitchen. A room other than the one in which I lie prone, grieving the loss of my unconsciousness.

Mornings are not my jam.

It’s a bad idea to sleep on curly, wet hair. Unless you’re trying to fake an extra four inches of height. Then it’s perfect.

It’s not that I can’t get up in the morning. I can. Most days right now, I get up early, go to the gym, and get back in time for my little morning lark to flutter off to work, a state of affairs which would have pitched my 23-year-old self into disbelieving hysterics had she been informed that it would one day come to pass.

I can get up. I just can’t like it. And I really, really can’t with the blather and the bonhomie.

After 15 years of marriage, Paul has developed rudimentary self-preservation practices, and he rarely attempts to speak to me in the mornings now. At least not until I have emerged, blinking, on the sunny side of the bedroom door.

Except when I have asked him to make sure I get up. On those mornings, all bets are off because he is doing me a favor. I can’t chuck heavy books from my bedside table at the head of someone doing me a favor, now can I?

So far, the answer is no. I cannot.

And so it is that he takes these mornings as an opportunity to revel in his chatty larkitude, safe in the knowledge that I asked him to do this. I roll out of bed just to escape the relentless tide of cheer and stumble a few steps to the bathroom, where I can pull the door shut and consider the penalties for spousal assault in peace.

There are small mercies. Paul has never deployed on me the tactics he uses on our oldest son. These include stripping back the covers, blinding lights in the eyes (oh, FINE, it’s just the overhead lamp), and sending in his little brother. This last does not sound particularly ominous unless you know that said little brother has a diaphragm that would make a carnival barker proud, endless energy, and express permission do whatever it takes.

I suppose it’s possible that my husband’s morning cheer might one day overwhelm his caution, and he might pull out the big guns on his grouchy, unsuspecting wife.

But I’m pretty sure that it would only happen once.

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