I am a Morning Zombie
Definitely Not A Morning Person
To say that I am ‘not a morning person,’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. It would be more accurate to say that I am not a person in the morning.
But, as far as I know, our language can’t come up with any better descriptor for me than describing what I am not. So, I’ve taken the liberty of correcting this oversight, and coming up with my own.
I am a morning zombie.
I don’t watch anything scary, so I haven’t seen many zombie movies. But, when I do I can’t help but empathize with them.
I have spent almost every morning of my life as a zombie. It doesn’t matter if I’ve gotten three hours of sleep or twelve.
Just replace the craving for brains with coffee, and you have a good idea of what I’m like in the morning.
I’m disoriented. I’m unpleasant. I don’t have good verbal or motor skills. And, most people react to my appearance with caution.
Some mornings, it’s not so bad. I just have to take few minutes to figure out how to get my eyes to open. I breathe a few deep breaths and shake it off in ten or fifteen minutes.
Other mornings, I am full zombie — confused, grumpy and bad at life — for several hours.
There are many shades in between. I never know what’s coming. Every morning is a new adventure.
I’m pretty used to it by now. I just have to warn new friends and roommates ahead of time that it’s probably better if we don’t speak in the morning.
In my most recent roommate situation, it was the first thing I told them.
I responded to their ad on Craigslist. We all agreed to meet at a coffee shop, and get to know each other a bit before going to the house.
Our coffee meeting was at ten in the morning. I had already been awake for a couple of hours, so I was through the worst of it, but I wasn’t quite at a place where I could make a good impression on strangers.
I ordered a big mug of coffee, and sat down with my new potential roommates. They asked me to tell them about myself.
I responded, “I’m not really a morning person. Could you talk for a minute while I work on this coffee, and then I’ll say things?”
They graciously agreed. I got some caffeine in me, and pulled it together enough for them to agree to let me move in with them.
On my first morning in the house, I dragged myself out of bed around 10 or 11, and stumbled into the kitchen to make some coffee. I expected to be alone in the house given the time. But, as it turned out, all of us worked odd hours, so everyone was home.
My four new friendly roommates began to talk to me, and ask me questions. I couldn’t really understand what they were saying, and I definitely couldn’t talk yet.
They kept talking for a few minutes, then looked at me expectantly. One of them asked me another question. I’m not sure what she said.
I finally mustered all the energy I had, and replied, “I don’t usually talk in the morning.”
They all made that precede-with-caution face the humans in zombie movies make, and stopped trying to interact with me.
On my way out the door, one of them said, “Bye. Have a good day.” Then, looking at the state I was still in, added, “Good luck!”
We all had a talk that evening when I got home. I had, by that point, transformed into a human person.
They seemed concerned.
“What happened this morning?”
“Are you… better now?”
“I’m fine,” I said. “I told you before, I’m just not a morning person.”
This is when I learned that ‘not a morning person’ isn’t nearly accurate enough language.
A year later, I woke up in that same house, where I woke up everyday. That morning, I was full zombie.
I was completely disoriented, and completely incapable of moving or opening my eyes.
I was trying to figure out where I was. Not being able to open my eyes made that tricky.
I could hear my roommates in the laundry room right next to my room talking.
I’m somewhere with other people around, I thought. They are speaking English. It sounds like they have American accents.
Then, I heard them say my name.
They know me. I’m waking up in a building with Americans I know.
About then, I cracked the case. I was just in my room, in my house. I finally got my eyes open enough to confirm.
Just to be clear, I hadn’t been traveling around the world recently, and sleeping in a different place every night. It’s just that mornings are confusing sometimes.
That was the worst I’ve been lately.
As bad as I am now, it is not nearly what I was as a child. At that time, comparing me to an animated corpse would even be misleading, because it would imply that I was animated.
From what my parents have told me, waking me up as a child was near impossible.
By the time I hit kindergarten, my parents knew the drill and enrolled me in the afternoon class, and not the morning class. Even this took some work.
I assume they tried to wake me up in the mornings, but it was never successful.
When they inevitably realized their attempts were futile, my mom would pack a bag with a toothbrush and school clothes, and my dad would wrap me in a blanket, carry me to his truck and buckle me in.
Note that I was five when this was happening, and I was not a small five-year-old. So, thanks for putting up with my nonsense, Mom and Dad. Sorry, awake was so difficult for me to master.
On rare occasions, I would kind of wake up somewhere in the middle of the process, but only enough to vaguely be aware that I was in a moving vehicle, and never enough to open my eyes or stay awake.
He would drive me to my grandmother’s house and lay me on her couch.
So, every night I went to bed in my own room, and every morning I woke up in my grandmother’s den.
She would get me up, help me get ready, feed me some lunch and take me to school.
It took an entire team of incredibly patient adults and a solid four hours to wake me up in time for afternoon kindergarten.
Seriously, my parents are saints.
The next couple of years, when I had to be at school in the morning, things got interesting.
In first and second grade, when I was still small enough to carry, my dad would scoop me out of bed, and plop me down in the living room.
My parents would put some breakfast in front of me, and hope I came to enough to eat some of it. I would put a bite in my mouth, and then fall asleep chewing.
I don’t know if you’ve ever woken up with half-chewed breakfast in your mouth, but it’s a weird feeling.
My brother would sit up-right, eat his breakfast like a human being, and watch me somehow eat my entire breakfast without ever actually waking up. He thought it was hilarious, and brings it up to this day.
Somehow, my parents managed to wake their corpse daughter, get three children to school, and make it off to work themselves everyday. I don’t know how they did it.
As an adult, I have gotten a little better. I can get out of bed myself now. I never fall asleep eating anymore. And, once I got to college, I discovered coffee. My life has never been the same.
I adapted my world to fit my situation. I have only taken jobs with flexible schedules since I graduated from college. I will gladly work a few evenings a week, if it means I don’t have to be a person before ten in the morning.
When people try to make morning plans with me, I decline unless I can go back to sleep afterward.
I set several alarms on my phone, each with a different ringtone, and a nice little message.
It is rather optimistic of me to think that I would be able to read those messages. Honestly, it’s amazing if I even recognize that sound as an alarm.
I am a morning zombie. I have accepted it. I am not apologizing for it.
If you are a morning zombie too, I just want you to know that it’s okay. Be who you are.
Maybe the early bird does get the worm, but worms are gross. Who wants to get up early, and then have to deal with worms on top of that? You’re better off.
Sidenote: I got of picture of myself immediately after waking up at 7:30 a.m. I was going to post it in this story. Unfortunately, it was a truely terrifying site. It is not something I would want children to accidently view over their parents shoulders, and have nightmares for the next month. So, I deleted it. For the children. You’re Welcome.
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