My alarm goes off at 5:45 in the morning. It doesn’t play music, ocean waves crashing, or anything else soothing to ease me into the land of the wakeful. Instead, it delivers blaring beeps that is every bit as unpleasant as I am at that time of day.
After I turn the thing off, it is aother five to ten minutes before I actually get out of bed. I spend this time doing nothing terribly productive. Memories of recent dreams fade from my mind. I grumble about the early hour with Rebecca, who is even less of a morning person than I am.
This may not be the most efficient routine, but it works well enough. And as much as I like to tell myself what a free spirit I am, routines are a comfort to me. Maybe that’s a symptom of getting older. Or perhaps I associate it with the domesticity I’ve embraced now that I’m happily cohabitating. Or both. I don’t know.
At any rate, the routine was interrrupted this morning by an overlooked detail.
I work for a consulting company and one my most important job duties (other than keeping the client happy) is dutifully filling out my weekly timesheet. No timesheet means no billable hours, which means no money from the client. I can see why it’s considered a big deal.
Recently, my employers began a new fiscal year and now have similar, but wholly different, billing codes for all their accounts and projects. I got the new code for my work and assumed that was the end of that. I was wrong. It turns out the for public holidays changed as well and I used last year’s code for the Fourth of July, probably because I hate freedom.
Fortunately, such an error is fixable. I just had to call the time-and-attendance office on the east coast and have them reopen the timesheet for me. This I did at six a.m. after getting out of the shower, which eliminated this morning’s slow-rising ritual.
Everything went fine until I was just about ready to go and could not find my phone. This was odd considering I had just made a call with it just a few minutes before. Then again, most of what I did over the past 20 minutes or so was done on autopilot. Maybe that’s another reason to like routines. Doing the same thing you always do has its advantages when you’re not paying attention.
I traced what I thought were my steps after submitting the new timesheet. Then retraced them again and again. This went on increasing anxiety for another ten minutes until I found that I put my phone in my backpack because of course I did.
With all the time wasted, I barely made it to the bus on time. Well, “barely” ay not be the right word since I was still able to stop at Muddy’s for my coffee and bagel. I was however in too much of a rush to sit and eat the bagel there, and that has to count for something.
I got on the bus and took my usual seat way in the back and on the right side away from the rising sun. There I put in my earbuds and turned up the music loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage if I didn’t already have that. A silly punk rock song spirited me away before I had a chance to think about how I’d hold up if I ever faced any real adversity.