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chihuahua dog in bed resting or sleeping , with alarm clock ringing in bedroom under the blanket , to early for wake and get up wearing sleeping mask
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Small Talk: Cause for alarm

El Diablo may be scraping ice off his windshield. I feel I am not out of line to say the world has turned upside down and I am slipping over to the dark side.

The dark side would be the world before 5 a.m. Everything is so quiet and, yes, you can get a lot done without interruptions … but it’s 5 a.m. My body traditionally revolts against any status but sleep at that hour. I have always admired morning people, but thought them simply shamelessly ambitious overachievers. I still puzzle over those who wake up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I have never wanted to leap out of bed, and suspect I never will, but thanks to weeks of social distancing, I am now up each morning by 4 a.m., without a struggle.

Sometimes I even wake up before my alarm. You have no idea how startling that is for me or how much I hate alarm clocks. I have adopted the habit these days of stumbling into the newsroom by 5 a.m., when there is no one around to breathe on me. By 8 a.m., when the rest trickle in, I am out the door feeling like an ad for the U.S. Army.

When I tell my friends, they don’t really believe me. Especially the college sorority sisters who had to listen to me stomp around and snarl every morning. I was a bear with a sore paw to everyone I encountered before 9 a.m. I did not speak and did not want to be spoken to. I was a night person who got a second wind around 5 p.m. and loved staying up late reading a good book, maybe cooking, cleaning or watching a favorite television show.

The trade-off, of course, is an early bedtime and not wanting particularly to go anywhere much at night (can you spell p-a-r-t-y  p-o-o-p-e-r?). The final transformation (yes, I feel like a werewolf) was when I simply woke up at 4 a.m. last Saturday morning. I was deeply disturbed but got a lot accomplished. I think I’m going to be the go-to girl for morning coffee once this virus has packed up and left.

Going to bed before the sun isn’t such a problem these days, with Roku and Netflix. For most of my life, if you missed Wednesday’s episode, you were fresh out of luck. It would also have been a problem in my youth, because my mom never served dinner before 7:30 p.m. Once I had children, I needed those evening hours to get anything done at all. And I remember being awakened at 5 a.m. by my toddlers as pure torture.

Will this last? Do I want it to? Only time will tell, but for the balance of the lockdown, I feel like quite the sci-fi shape-shifter. Coffee anyone?

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer with a new understanding of altered reality. Contact her at [email protected].