The Ringer

I hate alarm clocks. Waking up to them is absolutely infuriating, and not only because it’s a horribly jarring way to part with sleep – though that has something to do with it, for sure.

I always use my phone as my alarm clock, and every time I get a new phone I change the ring I use as my alarm, and I’m pretty sure I’ve grown to despise every ring I’ve used. Right now the ring I use is “The Entertainer,” which objectively is far from a bad song. Now I can’t stand it. The alarm aspect I now associate with the tune has completely ruined it for me. But this isn’t why I most hate alarms. I hate alarms because I know the alarm is coming. It implies I need to get up at a certain time. Let’s say I need to get up at 10. My problem arises because I know there are important things that need to be accomplished after I wake up at 10, and therefore I need to wake up at 10. And I can never seem to trust the alarm to do its job.

I don’t know exactly where this lack of trust came from. I don’t remember having this issue in my high school days (though that’s probably because my wake up time was so early I was still solidly passed out). One explanation for the distrust could be my multiple failed attempts at setting the correct time. The AM/PM setting always bites me in the ass. Or it could be the DNA generously passed down by my neurotic mother. Either way, I don’t trust the alarm. I can’t trust it. And while this is a beneficial thing in the sense that I tend to wake up on time because of it, it is a negative thing because I don’t really sleep at all before the waking up. I typically wake up once or twice during the night anyway, but without an alarm I just drift back into deep sleep. With an alarm set, my mind always imagines my wake up time looming right around the corner. I wake up at 6:30, three and a half hours before I need to get out of bed. I’ll go back to sleep. Yet I wake up again, thinking, oh crap, I bet my alarm’s gonna go off soon. Time to check the clock. Only ten past seven? Really? Hmm, okay back to sleep. Now I wake up again, for surely my alarm is going to be going off within seconds. What? It’s not even 8:30 yet?

Instead of allowing the alarm to do its job, my internal clock is constantly intervening, showing me it’s capable of waking me up on time as well. Too bad it’s not capable of getting me up only on time, and not a half dozen times before as well. Now I finally am able to hit the proverbial snooze button on my internal clock, and fall into a deep sleep. First time in the last 2 hours I’m getting some good rest. I wake up, surprised that my alarm hasn’t rang yet. SHIT. It’s 11:30. Class started half an hour ago. That fucking AM/PM setting tore me a new one. Again. Wow, I hate alarms.

Ultimately, though, an alarm being set means for me that I have something scheduled the next day. It means there is some activity in which I am supposed to engage. This is not always a bad thing. I’m not always setting the alarm to wake up for class, or for work, or any other activity you dread rising for while you’re warm and cozy in your bed. Sometimes you’re waking up for a good thing. Getting up bright and early to go skiing with your friends at your favorite mountain. Waking up to watch the Argentina – Netherlands world cup game that, because of international time differences, is scheduled for 9 am local time. Yet even the days during which highly anticipated events are scheduled are not my preferred days. Even if I don’t have to set an alarm, for the event is quite late in the day. No. My favorite days are completely schedule free. The days where I wake up, decide I could use with an extra half hour of sleep, and peacefully doze off for a bit more shuteye. Once satisfied, though, I open my bedroom door in the morning and tread softly into the sunlit living room, with no noise to be heard except for the dryer’s humble rumbling in the room adjacent. I sit down on the couch and realize: I don’t have to do any one thing today. The day has maximum potential, infinite possibility. Anything could happen today. Grabbing a quick bite to eat, I pick up a phone and call a friend. Let’s see what this day has to offer.

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