Waiting for a lazy, responsibility-free “next life”

It’s 5:30 AM on a Friday morning and just getting light enough outside that I can sit out on my front porch, with my laptop without needing to turn on any bug-attracting auxiliary lighting. My trusty thermometer and an involuntary shiver verify the overnight lows truly were down into the 40s.

Although I’m cold, I refuse to put on a sweater and instead try to absorb all the cool I can, like a reverse solar panel. Perhaps bringing this sensation to mind later today, when the thermometer is cruising toward 90, will make the heat more palatable, or at least promote gratitude for the early morning cool.

I got up at 4 AM this morning, knowing it was going to be a long day I needed to get a jump on. A drop of water escapes my wet hair and drips down my neck, ensuring I remain awake. I am dryer fluffing my clothes as I type, pausing from online banking only long enough to eat a bowl of broccoli salad and to wave at friends coming to semi-stops at the road sign in front of my house on their way to work.

I alternate sips between coffee and the 30-ounce glass of water I force myself to drink because it’s good for me, even though I hate how quickly it will cycle through me. It’s all part of today’s insurance policy against whatever strangeness may befall me: the caffeine/hydration/nutrition defense. However powerful, it can’t fully compensate for the effects of sleep deprivation.

Every night, I tell myself I will go to bed early, or at least earlier, and almost every night that backfires. “Just turn off that TV and go to bed, young lady!” the voices in my head from childhood mock my current situation. Oh, to have the luxury of a favorite television show or intriguing movie be what keeps me up at night, stealing energy from tomorrow.

What keeps me up these days is legitimate needing to stay late at work, or coming home late from a child’s out-of-town ballgame or some kind of meeting, then having the only conceivable grocery-getting time fall after dark and needing to practice piano for paid gigs, doing some sort of mandatory writing for hire, and/or paying bills so I can afford a porch to sit on to make these early morning observations.

Sometimes my musings center around my fantasy “next life,” where I will refuse to be conscientious. No returning stray carts in the grocery store parking lot or returning phone calls within reasonable time frames; no putting gas in my car the night before I go somewhere; no stocking food and household supplies ahead; and no paying bills until my creditors catch up with me and threaten my kneecaps.

I will be the last to arrive and the first to leave at social occasions, so I will never have to help with set-up or tear-down. A bag of chips that I pick up at a convenience store on the way to the party will become my permanent dish to pass. And I will carry a Styrofoam to-go container with me and fill it on the way out to take care of my next meal!

In my next life, my children won’t be involved in anything extra-curricular and we won’t lift a finger to share our energy and abilities with others. We will spend our newly-found free-time on comfortable leather couches in front of our idol-like, large-screen TV.

Ah, the parasite in paradise existence! I hear your call. But for now, I’m still waiting. Just like I was waiting last week for the satellite dish technician to come and help me regain signal. I waited five days for my 8 AM-12 Noon service appointment, only to receive an email at 7:45 AM on my service day, stating the technician would arrive sometime between 12:45-2:00 PM.

What?! The ridiculous injustice of it! Maybe I’m just envious that despite having eight years of college education, I don’t possess that kind of command over other people’s schedules. Mentally, I add “make other people wait forever for nothing” to my next life fantasy. I can still dream for free, can’t I?


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