Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Happens Before Sunrise

Thursdays are my longest day because I teach three classes (6 hours) plus sometimes have a culture lecture in the evenings. Terrible, I know. It’s almost like working a full American workday. Today I decided to make the day even longer by waking up at 4am.


There was a period if time in Yangzhou when I was unintentionally doing this all the time. My teammate told me, “I can always tell when you haven’t been sleeping because you get super productive.” Which is true. This is the first time I’ve had trouble sleeping in a while, but lately my mind has been too active.


It was still dark when I woke up, so I knew it must be early. After tossing and turning for a while, I looked at the clock. 4:30am. This is unacceptable, I thought. I must try to sleep more. So I lay there and thought about the elections and my friend Ashley who is coming tomorrow and how I needed to clean before she came and what I wanted to look at in IKEA (we are going in a few weeks) and what I thought about the new foam pad we had bought for the bed (my thought: we got ripped off) and about money (It’s something I rarely think much about in China. We haven’t really had any kind of budget in China, because we just don’t spend much money. But suddenly this troubled me, and I started doing some mental arithmetic. You know something is not right when I am doing math instead of sleeping.) Right about the part where I started doing math, I realized I was never going back to sleep, so I might as well take advantage of that super-productivity.


I started on the guest bedroom, getting things all put together for Ashley. This will be it’s first use. Once the bed was made up and some of the extra storage boxes were hauled out, it was a little after 5am. I looked out the window and marveled at the fact that all the windows in the two buildings next door were dark. It’s 5am people! What are you all sleeping for? In Yangzhou, when I would wake up at 4am, generally by about 4:30am a few people would start coming by outside.


Next I headed to the kitchen. I cleaned out the fridge, took out the trash, cleaned the counters, washed dishes, swept the floor, and even scrubbed the little strip of counter behind the sink. I noticed that we have about 15 magnets but no pictures on the fridge. I need to fix that. 5:30am, time to move on to the living room. I dusted the dining room table, cleaned up/threw away all the random things sitting around, washed some more dishes I found. By 6:30am I heard the loudspeakers start blaring music. They worked their way from peaceful blaring music to energetic march tunes, and I looked out the window to see the freshmen doing their required morning jog around campus. Poor little freshmen.


By about 7am, my normal wake-up time, the crazy-manic-cleaning, insomnia-induced buzz was starting to fade to more normal alertness. This gradually faded into a tired confusion. This 4am thing is good for my productivity, but it doesn’t work out too well in the long run. This would be evidenced by the really cool forehead bruise I am now sporting after bending over into the edge of a table a little later this morning. But the house sure looks better. My students would say, “No pains, no gains.” Incidentally, it drives me nuts when they say that…

1 comment:

Jessica said...

We may be best friends, and we may think alike, but we are so different.