Oct 22, 2007

Alarming Behaviour

I hate waking to an alarm. I think I'd rather climb over a pile of burning tires than be startled out of sleep by an alarm clock.

Alarm: a sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger; apprehension; fright.

An awareness of danger. It's called "being awake." While I sleep, perchance to dream I am recharging, restoring. My heart is pumping blood hither and yon, my lungs are drawing in oxygen to fuel the machine and each of my billions of little cells are doing whatever they do to continue this thing called Life. It's a grand time, sleep. The little death (not THAT little death, the other little death, the one that's less sticky.) But since we only need to spend 1/3 of our lives asleep, there's the matter of waking up.

My wake-up preference? Many. Smelling something good cooking in the kitchen. Being awoken by a bedmate in a variety of interesting and enticing ways. Letting my mind decide that the recharge/recycle process is done and having it slowly start the turbines, ease the throttle up confidently and lift me gently out of the sleeping world into the waking one like an airplane flying up through a thick cloud, suddenly emerging into the dawn's light. I hate, HATE being forced awake by, oh, an alarm clock for instance.

Yeah, I hate alarm clocks with a passion. Never liked the damned things, doubt I ever will. Raucous, shrill and vile in the extreme. And I'm not one of those folk who love the snooze bar, or who have to put the alarm across the room so as to make me get up and go over to it to turn it off, thereby assuring that I don't return to bed. No, the alarm goes off next to the bed, I reach over and hit the little button to stop it, my brain pumps the gas pedal a few times and turns the key in the ignition, and I listen to the grinding coughing noises my body makes until the engine turns over and starts to idle, albeit roughly, and then I'm up and at 'em. Slowly. And usually with clouds of blue smoke billowing. Not my preference to waking, but I have to do it five days a week. And I still hate alarms.

Years ago someone finally realised that not everyone likes to wake to that shrill "beep beep beep" electronic noise alarm and decided that with the miracle of microchips and digital storage they'd record natural sounds--brooks babbling, songbirds singing, oceans roaring and the like, and they'd program THAT into an alarm clock. I'd like to move that the man (or woman) who put that in motion be sainted. I immediately ponied up for one of these wonders of modern technology when I discovered them, brought it home and set it for "Ocean Waves."

It's still an alarm clock. It's soft, it's not nearly as brain=-splitting as that blinking, red-eyed demon "BEEPBEEPBEEP" but it's still an alarm. And I still hate it. But not as much. I much prefer it to the old noise, and those Baby Bens with the huge brass bells on top? I'd sooner be woken by a chain saw, or a doctor's voice saying "I'm sorry Mr. Irrelephant, the test is positive." And waking to music just doesn't do it for me. If I had the alarm set to music I'd just lie there with a soundtrack for my dreams, and trust me on this, the LAST thing my dreams need is the Universe assigning songs to them. Oooooh no, not this boy.

There is one time I love alarm clocks, and that's Friday mornings. I love waking on Friday mornings to the sound of a brook babbling. Brook? I turned off the Ocean setting because my brain began to confuse it with the white noise of the A/C unit and I stopped waking up after three years exposure to that certain five second loop, but I digress. Friday mornings I wake up and knowing the next day is Saturday and does not require a wakeup, I can stop up the waters and then TURN IT OFF for the weekend. That's got to be one of the top fifteen best feelings in the world.

Of course Sunday nights suck on ice because I have to turn the blasted thing back on for Monday morning, but that's just the cost of living, I guess.

So tell me--how do you wake up in the morning?


meno said...

Years ago, before i discovered the joys of a clock radio, i had an alarm clock. It scared the hell out of me, every morning. It trained me to wake up about a minute before it went off so i could turn it off before its horrible cry rent the dreaming air.

Now it's the radio, softly murmuring the day's fresh horrors in my ears.

Nancy Dancehall said...

The BIGGEST perk to working at home is that you don't need an alarm clock anymore. I haven't used one in over five years.

However, I do have two organic, bio-alarm clocks who are thankfully learning to sleep in. Not sure what we're going to do next year when we have to get up early for school. Ga.

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

An alarm, aided by the miracle of the snooze button. I used to work approximately 3 p.m. until midnight, and almost never had to set an alarm -- and that was when I was still drinking!

Schmoopie said...

I have the best alarm clock in the world! Stucco walks over to my side of the bed and kisses me on his way out the door. That is my cue to get up. :)

Scott from Oregon said...

I saw an alarm clock that starts beeping furiously, and then has two wheels (making the whole thing look like a small dumbell) so that it can run and hide. The idea is, you have to get up and go pull it out from under the bed or wherever to turn it off.

I guess it is for those that have become snooze button addicts.

My dog's bladder is my alarm. She jumps on the bed and stands on my face. She weighs around 65 pounds so I tend to wake.

Her bladder operates on the sun's rising.

Irrelephant said...

Meno, isn't it interesting that the body can adapt like that? And despair-inducing that it has to?

Nancy, sounds like you're gonna have to invest in an alarm clock. *lol*

Pawlie, you're just showing off now. *lol*

Schmoop, I think that's probably a matter of perspective. See, I do the same for MY wife, but I'm still the one who has to wake up first, to the alarm clock. I'm willing to bet that Stucco is wandering around for a few minutes in the mornings too, bleary and confused.

Scott, I like the soft warm wakeups too, but that run and hide alarm clock? Oooh no. If I want to smash the dang thing I want it to hold still.

Jean said...

heh... a while back I posted,
"In heaven... there are no alarm clocks. It's always the weekend."
Even though I don't believe in heaven, this should give you my opinion on alarm clocks :)

Irrelephant said...

Jean they're just WRONG, aren't they. Damnable things.

Vulgar Wizard said...

Alarm clock, with music not beeping, set for 6, snooze until 7 because I have 4 snooze options in 5-minute increments (tap the button 4 times, sleep for twenty more minutes), unless it's Friday, then I get up on time because I, like you, know I won't have to do it again for two days. But it's mostly because I know I won't have to go to the office for two days. If I didn't work there, I guarantee I'd be up at 6 everyday.