My alarm goes off every morning at 7am. Both of them do. I snooze them. They go off. I snooze them again. Sometimes I’m too groggy to remember that I’ve already snoozed them twice, and I accidentally snooze them for a third time. I can’t count at the best of times, let alone when I’m in a warm bed in a cool room and I’ve been dead to the world for slightly less than the government-recommended amount of time.
I pull myself out of my cocoon and immediately turn the radio off. I’ll listen to it again in ten minutes, but every morning they do this thing where they interview small children and sometimes they get them to sing unaccompanied. I find it so toe-curlingly humiliating on each child’s behalf that I can’t listen any more. It’s a little bit of incentive to get moving.
I brush my teeth and wash my face. It takes forever to do both. I’m convinced I must be one of the only people in the world who actually pays attention to the two-minute timer on their electric toothbrush. It’s a really long time when you’re just standing there marvelling at the way your hair always finds a new angle at which to stick up and trying not to dribble Colgate down your pyjamas. With the face, there’s something unpleasant about that first shock of water on skin first thing in the morning. I’ll happily throw myself into the sea on any given day, but get soap involved and water is immediately a chore.
From the kitchen, the gurgling starts.
I head back to my room. The night before I will invariably have envisaged an outfit for the day. That outfit will be impractical in some way. It’s far too fancy for a normal day at the office, or it involves too many moving parts. Perhaps I’ve invented an item of clothing that doesn’t exist in my wardrobe. Again. I should take up fashion design. I end up plumping for the same t-shirt and jeans combination. Or, now that it’s November, jumper and jeans. It’s comfy and I can ride my bike in it. Plus I’m not yet up to thinking.
I emerge in a haze of deodorant and (if we’re very lucky) hair product into the living room. It smells like chilly air from where I had the windows slightly cracked to keep the condensation at bay. It also smells like coffee. My brain starts to unwind a little bit.
Every night I set the timer on my coffee machine, and every morning I take ten minutes to drink it. I put on the news while I do, and immediately mute it in favour of all the Instagram stories that piled up overnight. On the screen the newsreader makes silent, awkward small talk with the sports lady, and I watch bloggers video their feet.
At 8:15am I quickly debate whether I’m cycling to work or walking. If I’m walking I need to leave now, but I’m never ready, so I never do. Instead, I wash up because I know I’ll hate myself later if I don’t. I scrape the porridge pan clean and bash the old coffee out of the machine.
I find my shoes, marvelling quickly at how they’re just about managing to stay intact before I pull them on. I zip up my fluorescent yellow jacket which is too hot to wear now and won’t make the slightest bit of difference when I’m pedalling home in the pitch black later. I grab my stuff – always too much, sometimes by a ridiculous margin – and check I have my key at least twice before I leave.
I head out of the door, and finally wake up when it hits 10am.