What Prepares You for the Day?
The Medium Writing Prompt
214117

This is not me, because I’d be checking my watch instead of sitting calmly

That Stupid Light

I have my morning routine down to a science, because I need to leave the house by 8:40 in order to catch the 8:42 stoplight out of my subdivision. This five-and-a-half-second light changes every three minutes, whether there is one car or one hundred, and will probably be the reason I end up moving out of this neighborhood. My morning is geared toward making this light.

With that in mind, I have a schedule for each morning. My alarm goes off at 7:30, but I give myself permission to snooze until about 7:50, when I need to do my hair and makeup. My cat insists on tangling herself around my legs at this point, or playing with the closet door, or the power cord of my hair curler (because my house is wired strangely, I have to plug the curler into the outlet outside my bathroom, because the one inside the bathroom is linked to perpetually-on outdoor lights whose breaker I’ve since turned off). I watch my posture while my arms burn from holding the curler and realize I tend to lean sideways, like the curler is forcing my whole body to drift south, and for ten minutes I am up, down, up, down, trying to correct my stance while my hair sizzles.

I pick out jeans or a skirt and a top, and make a mental note about how I need to do laundry. As I write this, there’s a hamper full of laundry that’s been in my closet for a week, but I’m sick with a cold and haven’t been able to do much of anything lately so I give myself a pass.

My daily breakfast is a protein shake, because I refuse to wake up any earlier to make food, and because I also hate making food in the morning and eating takes too long. I pull out a carton of almond milk, frozen bananas, a jar of peanut butter, and my industrial-sized tub of chocolate protein powder. My red Ninja blender makes quick work of the ingredients and serves up the peanut-buttery chocolate shake I’ve had every morning for four years straight. Old habits die hard.

Now it’s about 8:30 in the morning, so I have 10 minutes left before I need to leave to catch that #$&@ light. It’s amazing how indulgent those 10 minutes can feel. It’s like I won them on a game show and don’t know what to do with them. They’re luxurious, but pass so quickly. How do I spend them? Should I take a nap? (Quick answer: no.)

Inevitably I remind myself I have to brush my teeth, water my plants, or put a letter in the mail, and that kills the time remaining until I need to leave. When it’s time to go, come hell or high water, my car will leave the garage at 8:40, and I will make that light at 8:42. *

*Unless something random comes up, such as having to chase my cat out from under a tree in the backyard, which I have accounted for by confirming I can make the next light at 8:45. That, however, is a last resort.

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