…has never been easy. Thanks, Elastica. I was in danger of writing a nostalgic piece on the daringly boring topic of how well organised my morning routine was back in Britain, and what a mess it is here. I like a routine – when everything else is disrupted, it’s nice to have a few old certainties to cling to. (This Oliver Burkeman column has quite a nice take on routine.) Now I remember, courtesy of your gnomic lyric, that it’s always been more complicated than that. So, first of all, here, if anyone at all is still reading, are my old getting-up routines versions 1, 2 and 3.
1) Pre-M, in my single, Home-Office working, London-living days.
Wake up at 7.45 to Radio 1, so that I didn’t have to be jolted straight from sleep into an immigration scandal/ Ministerial resignation/ prison inspection report that I would have to be worrying about properly when I got to work. And because if I listened to speech-based radio I used to just roll over and go back to sleep.
Shower and get dressed.
Have breakfast while my hair dried.
Hair and make-up and out to catch the Tube to work.
2) In relationship, PhD student or post-doc, various locations.
Wake up at 7.45 to the Today programme because it’s no longer work (and I’m not really conscious for Thought for the Day, so that’s OK), because M hates Chris Moyles even more than I do, and because M can be relied on not to go back to sleep, but instead to hustle me out of bed…
… to a sociable breakfast where we discuss what we’re going to do with our respective days.
Shower, dress, leave house (with hair wetter than it would have been under version 1), and eventually go to work where most days no one cares what time I get in.
3) On a self-improvement tip, from time to time, often while M is away.
Wake up at 7 am, write three morning pages as prescribed by The Artist’s Way in attempt to stave off mental illness and release creativity, do 15 minutes of yoga.
Have breakfast, blah blah blah.
The problems with version 3, which when it happened resulted in the most wonderful, healthy glow mornings ever, were threefold. First, I hate getting up at 7am, especially in winter, so I tend to roll over and go back to sleep. Second, M hated being woken up at 7am. Third, when M was around, me getting up before him destroyed the pleasant coupley transition from bed to breakfast and seemed to sacrifice all that nice togetherness to something kind of monkish.
So as I say, the vacillation between 2 and 3 was creating a bit of a mess. But at least there was always coffee, orange juice and cereal; there was always radio; there was always the point at which I left the house for the day.
All of this is now at risk.
For the last week we have been missing crucial breakfast items such as a kettle, glasses and coffee. We have been drinking in sequence from our one shared glass like, you know, Workhouse children with a wooden platter. Now that that’s sorted out, I can’t get Nescafe Partners’ Blend, which I had established following extensive research was the only instant coffee available in the UK that was both drinkable and Fair Trade.
Then there’s the radio problem. My radio appears to have broken in the move along with most of our bowls, and even if it’s not broken – what, oh what, will take the place of the Today programme and my crush on Evan Davis? (I know he’s not interested in me or womankind in general. It’s fine.) NPR is just not going to be the same. No, dammit, let me just come out and say it: it’s not going to be as good. Unless I can persuade both myself and M to get up at 7 so that we can listen on the internet to The World at One?
Finally, there’s the urge to check your email since, now we’re living on Central Standard Time, lots of people on British Summer Time will have emailed since the evening before. Over the last week I have been checking my email before getting in the shower. This is a disaster. Not only does it lead to people trying to Skype me while I’m still in my pyjamas (OK, not available button now located), but it’s the kind of bad habit I’m really trying to kick. I spend way too much time reading email, checking Facebook and generally experiencing the world through my computer screen, and it’s only getting worse. It throws me off setting my own agenda for the day, spending my time productively and creatively, and actually leaving the house. Which I don’t have a work-related reason to do any more, so before you know it my morning routine will be this:
Wake up at 7.45. Have breakfast. Put dishwasher on. Read email. Surf internet. Oh, hello, it’s 1 o’clock and I still haven’t got dressed! Remind me, did I have a life once upon a time?