I Don’t Even Want the Worm*

This morning I realized that I was waking up before the sun1 for no apparent reason. SPOILER ALERT: Turns out there was a reason, but we’ll get to that later.

My iPhone started sounding its ring prompting a loud desperate sigh of resignation on my part2. Luckily, my dog Ozzie is deaf, so neither one of these auditory events woke him from his slumber. As I looked outside, I realized that the eerie blue radiance coming in through my window was just the street lamp lighting a dangerous curve in my parents’ neighborhood. Though it was meant to provide safety in the face of misbehaving drivers speeding through a dangerous curve in a residential neighborhood, to me and my fellow early risers it served mainly to help us greet the new day. As I lay there, thinking this pointless thought, alongside more appropriate thoughts for a twenty-five year old such as “do I have to get up?!” I decided that as said twenty five year old, I had had enough!

You see, just yesterday I was explaining to my mom that one of the things I can’t stand about my current corporate gig (and all those I’d held prior) is my inability to control my own time. More than that, I realized this specific element was, in fact, my main problem with these jobs. Every day, regardless of how much actual work I’m tasked with, I’m expected to be at the office for at least eight hours a day. It doesn’t matter that my tasks only take, at most, half that time. It doesn’t matter that I have errands I actually need to run3 and goals towards which I could be putting this precious time.

My mom nodded in my general direction. Well, not so much in my direction, as she was looking at her knitting, but it was clear her nodding was directed at my spiel4. This was one of those times, though, that she really seemed to understand what I was saying and was not just bobbing her head as a means of appeasing me and getting me to quiet down. She said “I get it, but at least this job lets you have a FLEXIBLE work schedule.” Meaning that I can choose the time at which I want to start my daily 8 hour term of imprisonment.

My head kind of spasmed as I nodded and shook it at the same time. Nodding because I understood what my mom was telling me: I’m in a better place than I was less than a year ago. Shaking because I wanted her to understand that better doesn’t mean it’s enough. I told her that when I quit and moved home less than a year ago, it wasn’t with the hope of finding the same job here. I told her that this was, in fact, what scared me the most about accepting the job I currently have. I knew, deep down, that other than location, this job changed nothing, solved nothing. I reassured her that I was grown up enough to not up and quit, but that it was important to me for me to analyze these discontentments so that I don’t repeat the mistakes of my past. Because mistakes are only mistakes if you don’t learn and grow from them.

So this morning, when I woke up groggy and somewhat resentful that the sun hadn’t even risen yet, I decided that instead of letting my misery consume me as I had done in the past, I would take matters into my own hands. I quickly grabbed my phone and informed my boss that I would be shifting my work schedule so that I’ll be at work from 9 to 5. I e-mailed this to him, because I do not want to call anyone up at 5:30 in the morning, let alone my boss. And then I reset my alarm for 7:15 and went back to sleep.

Flash forward a few hours and I remember that I had my work schedule from 7 to 3 because it meant avoiding rush hour traffic coming into the city from the suburbs. Today, instead of spending my usual 9 hours between work and commute5 I will spend at least 10 in the pursuit. To me, spending an extra hour in my car isn’t worth sleeping in at this point. That hour is even more precious to me than the 8 hours of work because the only things I can do during that hour are drive, listen to music, or listen to a book. So my little experiment failed. Or better still, my little experiment succeeded in reminding me why it was that I was waking up at 5:30 in the first place! Lucky for me, next month I’ll be moving out of the suburbs and into the city. Just two miles from work. So there will definitely be time to experiment with my work schedule then. But for now, it’s back to never seeing the sun. Or only seeing it through my window at work. On days it’s not raining. So very rarely seeing the sun.

Footnotes:

* What do you guys this of this title? Do you get it? I feel a need to explain it and then explain myself. It’s supposed to be a play on the whole “the early bird get the worm” shindig. I think it might be confusing because it’s unclear what the worm might be referring to. To be honest, it’s referring to a worm and saying that I, as a human, don’t want the damn worm. I used to be a morning person and I always wished I could sleep in, and now that I’m not a morning person, I want to embrace that ok?! No worms for me!

  1. My alarm clock is set for 5:27 to be precise. Or is it accurate. You’d think after 24 years (minus the two years before preschool, ok) of formal education I’d know the freaking difference. Let’s go with exact. My alarm clock is set for 5:27 to be exact. Why not 5:30? Because I’m weird. Deal with it!
  2. Seriously, every time I hear The Struts “Could Have Been Me” the lyrics “Don’t want to wake up on a Monday morning, the thought of work is getting my skin crawling” I yell it along to the radio. Though I feel this most days, and more often than not, not on Mondays.
  3. I mean, who wouldn’t pick chilling out in the DMV to renew my registration over guiltily surfing the web at work?!
  4. Ok, first of all, as an Ashkenazy Jew I’m disappointed by the rather barren spelling of this word. I really thought it would be schpiel. That’s in fact what I typed out when the squiggly red line appeared and I fixed it thanks to the knowledge of Microsoft. Secondly, I looked up this word (yes on Google, on my iPhone, I like to have all major high tech players involved in my writing process) and the definition is so specific but so so accurate. Go look it up. It can be your word of the day!
  5. I want to combine this into one word. But they’re all dumb. Wommute? Workmute? Comwork? Seriously, endless appreciation to anyone that comes up with a good word that combines these. It doesn’t even have to be this Bennifer/Brangelina style thing. If there’s an actual word in the English dictionary that has this meaning I would like to learn it. It can be my word of the day!
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