In which A is for Alarm
It’s the crack of dawn.
Actually, it’s before the crack of dawn. If I had a rooster, it would still be sleeping right now. But I don’t have a rooster; what I do have is crickets. They wake me up by chirping incessantly and repetitively until I silence my phone, whence their simulated sound come. The rooster I don’t have would make a mental note to itself to eat those crickets at some point during the day, before they have a chance to try their same nasty trick again tomorrow morning.
I thought the sound of crickets would be more soothing than, say, a shrieking air-raid siren but I was wrong about that. Don’t get me wrong – I far prefer the sound of crickets to shrieking sirens of any stripe, but as a person who jumps out of her skin if you say “Tess!” in a quiet room, I think anything above the sound of a snail’s glistening slide would be startling at 6 o’why-am-I-awake.
Are you familiar with Snooze Button Mathematics? It’s the built-in wiggle room you give yourself the night before when you set the clock, and the negotiations you undertake in the morning when the crickets summon you from the blissful arms of…. something wonderful I can never really remember when awake, but anything dreamt of must be wonderful, mustn’t it, because you are, after all, asleep. The morning negotiations go something like this: Do I have to wash my hair this morning? No = 15 extra minutes. Did I remember to pack a lunch last night? Yes = 5 extra minutes. Do I know what I’m going to wear today? Yes = 5 extra minutes. Did it snow last night? No = 10 extra minutes (no scraping time required)
And so on, hopefully netting an extra half hour during which my pretend rooster and I swat at the crickets every nine minutes, and otherwise snuggle with great delight into the pillows which suddenly feel like the most comfortable place on earth (they weren’t as cooperative the night before during the tossing and turning portion of the program) (that’s Murphy for you).
Alarm means ‘anxious feeling of danger’ or to inspire that feeling. Isn’t that a terrible way to begin the day?