Leaded or Unleaded
And another story from college. RJC
On this planet there are dark skinned people, light skinned people and every shade in between. Short people, tall people, skinny people and fat people exist in every society. These things make us unique; they make us who we are. For all of our differences, however, we are somewhat the same. We all eat, sleep and drink. On the whole we all have two eyes, two ears, ten fingers, and ten toes. Men and women worldwide love children, family, and friends. Facing the challenges, heartbreaks and tragedies of everyday life define our humanity. Cultural differences, sexual differences, and racial differences represent but a few of the problems that we must contend with on a daily basis. These important issues capture our headlines and rightfully warrant our attention.
However, I believe that they pale in comparison to the true division of our species. I propose that the entire population of planet Earth can be divided into two groups. I believe that this division, in all probability, is the cause of every World War, famine in the Middle East, and the U.P.S. strike (not to mention EL NIÑO and the depletion of the ozone layer). Quite possibly it can be identified as the root of every world crisis. I say that the time has come to solve the world’s problems. We simply need to separate, at all costs, these two groups of people.
In this world there are those who wake up at the crack of dawn and those who would sleep until noon if given half an opportunity. They are commonly referred to as ”morning people” and “night people”.
“Morning people.” Everyone knows this type of person. They have a demeanor about them that only another morning person could love. Morning people start each day smiling and happy. Their catch-phrases include: “Rise and shine!” and “The early bird gets the worm!” These people set the alarm clock but know that it’s not necessary. They bolt out of bed at 6:00am sharp (or earlier — gasp!), ready to face the glorious, beautiful, sunny day. They whistle while they make the bed.
They skip to the shower and wash themselves, singing “Oh, what a beautiful morning…” in perfect key. They never get soap in their eyes and their towels always smell like a fresh, spring day. Advertising executives get paid big money to dream up scenes of this nature. Why the morning person takes a shower in the first place remains a mystery. After all, everyone knows that they wake up with perfect hair and minty- fresh breath.
The coffee maker brews the latest designer flavor (decaffeinated, of course) as the morning person peruses the newspaper and chuckles at the “Family Circus” comic strip. They leave for work humming “Hi-ho, hi- ho, it’s off to work we go” and listen to self- improvement tapes while in the car.
At work, the morning person arrives at least 20 minutes early. This extra time is necessary to straighten their desks (perpetually spotless) and to greet, in the most annoying manner possible, every single person they see. “Good morning!” they say, with an emphasis on the first word. Huge, gaping smiles, full of mesmerizing, white teeth adorn their cheerful faces. These smiles are genuine and why not? Another glorious day has just been graced by their presence.
These people thrive on an active schedule. They talk fast, think fast, and must constantly be moving. They arrange, down to the very second, the entire day and stick to that plan vehemently. Stress arises when they must deviate from their ironclad, grand scheme. The source of this anxiety can invariably be traced to the other type of person.
“Night people”. This term is actually a misnomer. Night people should be labeled as “late- morning” people. They slither out of bed at the latest possible moment. The siren song of the night person is the snooze bar on the alarm clock. It lures the bleary eyed awake only to dash them to bits on the jagged rocks of another late-rising day. Typically, night people set their clocks ahead by half an hour and are late anyway. The bed is never made.
The ensuing chaos would seem comical to the morning person. Sprinting from the bedroom to the bathroom, the night person jumps in the shower, drops the soap at least half a dozen times, lathers up with a combination shampoo and conditioner, and air-dries while they’re looking for something to wear. There is no singing.
Their clothes are usually wrinkled. If they are young and single it’s entirely possible that they will be wearing the same outfit they had on the day before. Sheet marks are visible on their haggard looking faces, gouging deep troughs in the skin next to their puffy, bloodshot eyes.
The car is not just a means of transportation to people afflicted with this condition. It serves as a makeshift bathroom, providing much needed time. Various things can be accomplished while driving, prompting other drivers to gaze with wide-eyed wonder at the spectacle in the next car (morning people, no doubt). Women put on make-up and men shave with their electric razors. Self- improvement tapes are out of the question.
Night people arrive at work exactly on time or even a little late. Piles of paper litter their desks and a bottomless cup of coffee (never decaffeinated) serves as the centerpiece. They avoid saying “good morning”, opting instead for the more appropriate ”mornin’”. More often, however, an elementary, primal grunt of acknowledgement greets passersby. Smiles rarely grace the face of night people and this can be attributed to one of two things: 1) there is no reason to smile, or 2) they didn’t have time to brush their teeth.
On a positive note, the average night owl handles stress skillfully. I firmly believe that if faced with a burning house, a mouthy teenager that just wrecked the car, and a dog with bladder control problems, the night person would shrug it off, knowing that tomorrow will be another day. (Another day– yes– but not necessarily a better one). Impatient, cheery, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed morning people stress the night person, but not to the point of anger. Anger wastes energy and is simply not worth the effort.
The zest for life that symbolizes the lifeblood of the morning person holds no meaning for the night person. They just don’t get it.
Obviously, separating these two types of people completely represents monumental, even impossible task. Everyday life demands that they interact. The only choice is to learn to get along, each accepting the other for what they are. It will be a long and toilsome journey for most. The road to compatibility will be bumpy and full of hairpin turns. Perhaps we can find a happy medium and solve all of our problems.
I hold no hope for the future, however. After all, the morning people will be halfway down the road before the night people are even out of bed.