It's Monday, and you slept in an hour because you have no student appointments today. The only thing calling you to the university is answering emails. You shower so your hair can start air drying and in your long heavy gray winter robe you pour your first cup of coffee, add vanilla soy and a blip of half and half. Stir with a long thin sturdy plastic spoon from Ireland because plastic is quieter than steel against the ceramic, important when someone else is sleeping.
You add a log to the wood stove and open the vent. It will take a few minutes for the orange embers to burst into flame and be visible through the creosote dimmed door. You hear a tick-tick-ticking just before the log ignites. It won't be light outside for another hour and a half, you see two or three stars shimmering between clouds. There is just one dim table lamp on. You wonder when you first began to like getting up so early, feeling robbed if it is already light when you awake. Your mother who got up early too would by now have already prayed on her knees for every world country's leader by name in her morning routine. With the smell of coffee and wood fire in your nostrils, you plop into your chilly red leather chair, covering your lap with a fleece blanket, and your laptop.
You pour your second cup of coffee, and a cup for Don who is now up. Where did that hour go? Oh yes - besides gmail, a little quiet music, Facebook and blog comments, you also read some news stories, especially the one about hating Obama - that if you do you are likely to be white. Thank goodness your mother and father taught you not to hate blacks. The family room is toasty.
Don has left for school, and it's light now - though gray and wintry, a light breeze bobbing the yellow tipped bamboo. This makes you think of President Obama again, because he's in China today (or is it tomorrow? he was just in Japan, when does he sleep?), where there is apparently deep cultural prejudice against blacks. After an essay by Ann Claycomb* about feeling like a terrible mother, you open the latest digital New Yorker - more palatable than the hard copy sitting on the kitchen table because you can read it without holding anything but your coffee cup. (You would not be able to read it online if you didn't have that subscribed copy on the table though. Ironic.) You used to think that people who got up early were the ultimate non-lazy people - industrious and worm-catching. You've changed your mind, and you realize your mother has flown up somewhere into the stratosphere of your esteem.
You read the article on the Michelin restaurant rating system from start to finish as hungrily as if you were eating a meal at a 3-star restaurant in Paris, which you've done thrice, unbelievably. The Michelin restaurant inspectors are anonymous and work long days, not paid too well, but wouldn't that be a great job, except for those long forms you have to complete after each meal, taking an hour. You know you are nowhere close to high society, you live on a farm with rustic outbuildings and chickens running in the yard, you and your husband have modest salaries in your thank-goodness jobs, and yet you have been served the food of the gods - once at Taillevent and twice at Le Grand Véfour. You contemplate blogging about those experiences and think better of it. Too much work to fire up the Paris blog again with old photos to process, and so many beggars in Mumbai and mine victims in Kabul with one leg or arm lurking in the vestibule. That would take more energy, better writing and less conscience than you feel capable of today.
You are still on your arse, with a warm machine bringing heat and information from around the globe onto your lap. Half-way through the Michelin article you have seven additional Internet tabs open: one on force feeding ducks for foie gras, the second the Michelin site Famously Anonymous, the third a list of 138 of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's recipes (if you were industrious you could attack those the way Julie did in "Julia & Julie"), the fourth - wikipedia.org open to the word Kairos after Montag mentioned it at his blog (the man must read incessantly) - meaning among other things "the time when God acts," the fifth - Facebook where you had to post the salon.com article you read about Obama hatred from the rightwingnuts (not that anyone will read it), the sixth a Huffington Post piece about the irony of Sarah Palin's new book title Going Rogue, and the seventh is your work email because you just decided you're going to stay home by the fire and answer emails here today. This is after you already spent two perfectly good weekend days at home with nowhere to go.
You convince yourself that because you want to write about what you take in, and this morning's worms were too plump, tasty and plentiful to leave for another morning, you need a whole day just to digest them. And that deserves 3 stars.
* This post was inspired by the form Ann Claycomb used in her piece at brevity titled WQED, Channel 13: Programming Guide. I was so taken with her form, that I imitated it. Thanks to Montag whose comment triggered the conviction that I should rightfully link it here - not that he was guilting me!