Do you have to get up too early?

January 27, 2017

in Personal

Post image for Do you have to get up too early?

We’ve become well aware of many forms of discrimination and how to avoid them in the past few years, but there’s one I suffer from (besides, increasingly, ageism) that rarely gets any acknowledgement at all. Being that which is popularly known as a night owl.

I’ve become very conscious of this lately because we’re having building work done in the house. I am actually in the fortunate position normally of not only being able to get up later than the rest of the human race, but I start my day by working in bed. A laptop and the web are the liberating factors here, along with being self employed. I am even recorded in a book as a working in bed eccentric. (see here!)

Bedroom Copyright Anne Wareham

The enabling laptop and another nice loungy place..

But at the moment this is all very embarrassingly public and it is probably only because I am used to being identified as eccentric that I can cope with builders turning up every morning at some unknown hour while I’m asleep, and then having them (in large quantities) wander past my window as I answer my emails in bed.

I avoid waving, so’s not to draw attention to myself and generally no-one stares. I have noticed before now that one of the courtesies that our regular early starter, Jeff the Gardener, follows is that he never looks into the house. He is good at these kinds of thoughtfulnesses and I’ve often wondered whether other people in similar outside jobs are taught to do the same.

Bedroom Copyright Anne Wareham

Pleasure palace

Then today I needed an urgent dental appointment and was told to ring early on Monday morning. That means when I’m normally fast asleep. If I do force myself awake and into active contact of that sort with the world I will pay the price of feeling ill all day. It’s a cost, and I’m not sure yet whether I can face it.(Especially since I have another deplorable eccentricity – I loathe phone calls.)

Mouse copyright Anne Wareham

Happy – no dental appointment needed..

There must by now be some people reading this and swearing at me. People who are as early morning sensitive as I am but who are forced to get up early every day of their lives. For work, for the children or for someone they are caring for. I gather there may be as many as a third of us in the general population – judging by this research.

How on earth does everyone cope? And why aren’t there more protests about it? Why isn’t it a recognised issue, confronted by accommodations like flexible schooling? Why did my dental receptionist ask whether it would be possible to ring early morning and have another possibility for me if I couldn’t?

bed copyright Anne Wareham

Alternative retreat….

I suspect part of the reason is that the whole world (as far as I know) is organised to suit early risers. At one time, before affordable artificial light, they were the hands down winners. Like my builders, they had to work in daylight. Interestingly though, I understand that historically we used to have two sleeps in the night, waking up and re-engaging during the night for a while before having a second sleep. To destroy this habit to fit us into an industrial society we had to learn that it was bad to lie around in bed enjoying ourselves in a nice dozy way.

Bedroom Copyright Anne Wareham

The enabling laptop and another place to lounge around..

And somewhere in this whole process the early risers have gained and kept their moral superiority.  I believe that people like me are regarded as degenerate. I know I never really like to casually admit it. I couldn’t face asking the dental receptionist ‘would you get up in the middle of the night to ring someone up?’ Being a latey is a source of shame and subterfuge.

But there must be a lot of us, subterfuging away?

Or suffering from living in the early world?

And, anyway, who ever wanted to catch a worm?

Anne Xxx (best selling author of Outwitting Squirrels and The Bad Tempered Gardener)

Portrait Anne Wareham copyright Charles Hawes


P.J. January 28, 2017 at 3:05 pm

You made a nasty comment to a poster on Facebook. Is that how you’re trying to attract followers? Or did you just get up too early?

anne January 28, 2017 at 4:35 pm

What nasty comment was that?

Julieanne Porter January 27, 2017 at 10:25 pm

This post reminds of of some articles I’ve read about ‘the cult of early’ – https://verbaltea.wordpress.com/tag/the-cult-of-early/ and particularly this piece – A harsh challenge to the cult of early – https://verbaltea.wordpress.com/2015/12/27/a-harsh-challenge-to-the-cult-of-early/. It too questions the whole early risers are better, late risers are lazy. The ‘harsh challenge’ article suggests (tongue-in-cheek, kinda) punishment for people who get up too early…

When I was sixteen I worked in a factory and you always had to start work at 7am. Which meant I had to get up by about 5:30am to get ready & to travel. I hated it, and the thing was, there was no need for starting at 7am (we sewed table clothes, hardly an emergency ‘early’ situation), other than, as you say, the impact of the industrial revolution.

Now I get up late, but because I have a chronic illness that effects my sleep patterns. If I get up at 10am, I’m not lazy. I’ve probably had very little sleep the night before and probably didn’t get to sleep until 5am. Yet I’m perceived as lazy if I answer the door in my PJ’s. The ‘it’s alright for some’ comments.

We do need to keep challenging this idea of having to always get up early and that it’s not morally superior, but I admit I struggle to find a way of doing so. I guess keep shouting about it via blogs etc?! Lead the charge Anne 🙂

What do we want? Not to get up early.
When do we want it? A bit later please.

anne January 27, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Love your slogan! And at the very least we should have a badge, don’t you think? I remember factory work like that (we made switches – I painted numbers on dials…..) and it started me smoking. Can’t blame that on the horribly early start but it was a grim package.

Nessa January 27, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Interesting..I used to work part time and be able to turn over in bed to the sounds of children’s voices walking to the school down the road. Being a night owl too, this suited me very well. Now I am firmly back in the worm-race, where classes (Im a teacher) start even earlier than they did five years ago(when I was originally fulltime) I get up every day in darkness which feels so unnatural. And today, when our students were told they would get lunch time detention for being even a minute late, I felt only sympathy, wheras my colleagues were delighted!
Thanks for providing a chance to vent about this. I really think there should be a different logic to all this in wintertime and have an altered schedule for those who work hard anyway!

anne January 27, 2017 at 6:41 pm

You might work better too – must be such a struggle. And they say adolescents need lots of sleep too, so what’s it do to them?

John Kingdon January 27, 2017 at 3:19 pm

Well, seeing (from your archive index) you’ve been in bed for nearly two years now since you wrote your non-existent post about smells, I’d have thought you’d manage an early morning or two to welcome your builders.

Or close the curtains!

And have you noticed that that other book you’re mentioned in is catalogued under “Autobiographies and Reminiscences – Male (in English)”?

anne January 27, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Catalogued where? And early mornings? Never. Xxx

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