Monday, September 2, 2013

Early Mornings and Empty Rooms

I'm a morning person.  The early morning is my favorite time of the day.  It has to do with the quiet.  I get a feeling of peacefulness when most of the world (at least in my immediate vicinity) is still asleep and those who, like myself, are awake, are walking their dogs or puttering about in their gardens or enjoying a quiet cup of coffee on their patios.  Or heading to work.  I should qualify this by explaining that I especially enjoy weekend and holiday mornings.  Weekday mornings, by their nature, are busier and noisier as most of us our in our cars, tackling the morning commute as we head to the office or the factory or the restaurant or the store, which tends to negate the tranquility factor.

In my early teens, I delivered the morning paper, so I'd be out there from about 6 am until 7 or 7:30 (my route covered a fairly large area), leaving the morning paper for people to peruse as they sipped their coffee.  Being so early, it was still quiet, even on weekdays, and I enjoyed it, so much so that I would get up early on weekends, even after I had moved on from newspaper delivery, and ride my bicycle through the empty streets of the surrounding neighborhoods.  Gliding by the rows of quiet houses with their darkened windows and their still-slumbering occupants gave me a quiet pleasure and, if I'm honest, a slight thrill of smug superiority.  Those poor sleepyheads were missing the best part of the day and didn't even realize it.

I also have a thing for empty rooms; especially ones that are normally bustling and full of people.  When I need to put in extra time at the office, I prefer to go in early rather than stay late.  This is partially because I have more energy at the start of the day rather than at the end, being a morning person, but also because I take a certain pleasure in opening the place up, turning on the lights, putting on a pot of coffee and settling in for some quiet, uninterrupted "focus" time with no phones ringing and no-one around to distract me.  Sometimes, before flipping that light switch, I take a moment just to relish the dim corridors and offices with their occasional barred patterns of alternating light and shadow thrown across the floors and onto the walls by streams of early morning sunlight filtering in through the blinds of the windows on the eastern wall of the building.

By the same token, I enjoy the sight of empty malls and parking lots on those universal holidays that apply to almost everyone, like Christmas and Easter.  I think it's good that people take a break from work, shopping and general commerce every once in a while and just chill out at home.  I silently lament for those hotel and restaurant workers who are required to work even on holidays such as these.  I realize that it's not practical, but wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just shut everything down for a day or two every so often?