I awake five minutes before the alarm goes off. I reach over and shut it off, so that I can avoid the noise, but I linger in bed for another ten minutes. The scar from my hysterectomy 14 years ago itches as it does now and then, almost as a reminder; I scratch it, while wondering if it will still remind me 14 years from now.
I think about the wine Chuck and I shared the night before, and how I probably should have had one less glass. Not hung over, just a bit groggy.
I want to stay in bed, but I know it’s time to start waking up. I point my left toe toward the ceiling in a Pilates move, then lower it and do the same with the right leg. Slowly I arise, walk across the room and shut off the backup alarm on my dresser.
Downstairs I take my medicines while wondering what I should have to eat at work later that morning. Remembering the half sandwich I left in the lunchroom refrigerator, I mentally check off one less concern. Wrigley, my boy Schnauzer, pads downstairs and lightly scratches at the back door. I open it and feel the cold night air on my face; so cold, but not so cold that I don’t somehow appreciate it. A few minutes later I am back upstairs in time to see “Snow and freezing rain disrupts northeast travel” flash on CNN. Remembering the cold from just a few minutes before, I wonder what it must be like to really be cold.
The news then moves on to stories about the dangers of drones and hover boards, then whomever Trump is attacking next in his campaign, then a commercial for Nutrisystem comes on and I briefly think about all the people I have know who have lost weight on such diets and gained it all back; a commercial for Liberty Mutual follows, and as the Asian girl talks at the camera about how it sucks to have her insurance go up after one accident, I am more concerned with the Statue of Liberty in the background and wonder if I will ever get a chance to see it in person again.
4:27 a.m. and now it is time to switch “leaving for work” mode. The things that come into mind at this crazy hour and most of the people on the west coast are still lost in slumber; for instance, death or retirement; which will come first for me?
In the car I wonder if Pandora will work okay without having to connect my phone. Boz Scaggs’ “Hey Miss Sun” breaks the quiet, and I smile. Finicky, this whole Pandora thing in my still-fairly-new car, but this time it works and even if it didn’t, I can handle Fm radio the 8 minutes into work.
The seat warmer has kicked in by the time I make the right turn to head down the hill into Mission Valley. The streets are damp, and the fog is suddenly very thick. A car comes up the hill in the opposite direction, and I think to myself — as I usually do at this hour — “Please don’t hit me.”
I encounter only a handful of other cars as I make my way through Mission Valley. I park in the lot and as I walk toward the building I can feel the cold “night” air, and I think about the people on the east coast who would laugh at the 47 degrees that is causing me to shiver.
Empty, quiet lobby; so different from my afternoon shift. I take the elevator to the 7th floor and immediately feel the temperature change as I exit and make my way down the hall toward the studios. I poor myself a coffee, then settle into my small, but warm studio and begin my workday.