My dear friend Gary has just retired from teaching and will be moving to Chicago with a week or so. One of his greatest concerns, expressed frequently and with all sincerity as the date of his retirement neared, was what he would possibly find to do with himself when he no longer had to be at school at the crack of dawn. I’ve done my best to assure him that it will not be a problem, and I think he’s coming to realize that even in the short time since his retirement became official.
I of course consider myself blessed by the fact that my “work” and my principle joy in life are the same: writing. As a result, my days fall into what I’m sure many people would consider a rut, but which I think of as a comfortable routine.
Up between 5:30 and 6, not through choice but simply because my body’s built-in alarm clock simply will not permit me to sleep any longer, though I truly wish it would.
Turn on the computer as I pass it on my way to the bathroom to let my cat, Crickett, out. (I keep here closed in the bathroom at night to prevent her from wandering back and forth across me while I sleep and, most bothersome of all, making frequent nose-to-nose inspections to make sure I am truly asleep and not dead.
Check e-mail, putter, sometimes panic-write a blog if it is Monday, Wednesday, or Friday and I’ve somehow not prepared one the day before. Post the blog on the correct days, then turn on the Today Show at 7. (Some habits are indeed strange. Why NBC? Because I always watch NBC. And why do I always watch NBC? Because I always watch NBC. A rose is a rose is a rose.)
Put coffee on...another inexplicable habit, since I honestly am not crazy about coffee and never have been. I can’t remember when I’ve actually finished an entire cup, either at home or out. While waiting for the coffee, I use the same cup I used to pour water into the coffee maker to fill it 2/3 full of V8 juice (I eat shockingly few real vegetables, so this is my pathetic attempt at redemption). Coffee ready, V8 drunk, I wash the cup, put in my ruts-worth of half-and-half, sugar, and coffee, then take a chocolate covered donut from the refrigerator (I am expecting a not of appreciation from the Entemann’s Bakery’s Chocolate Covered Donut division, of which I must be their primary source of income, and it is they who provide the bulk of my calories for the morning).
A couple times a week, I join friends for coffee around 10:30 at a coffee shop about a mile and a half from my apartment, and the walk provides my daily exercise. Then home to write.
There are variations, of course, but basically that is it. Comes 5:30, it’s news time and then the remainder of the evening is usually TV…though finding something to watch in re-run season can be a challenge. I know I should probably read, but after spending most of the day writing, I really prefer to shut my mind off and just float along with the boob tube.
Looking this over, even I find it stupifyingly dull on the surface, until I remember my recent post on the fact that I am in effect more than one entity. Nearly everything mentioned above is totally in the purview of my body, which thereby frees my mind to do what it enjoys most…play in the magic land of words.
So while I am quite sure that my body’s daily routine would bore most people senseless, it represents to me a most equitable division of labor.
And now it is time for my body’s morning coffee and V8 and donut and Today Show while my mind gets ready to go out and play.
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