Abetted by the Snooze

Another morning, another battle of willpower. The idea, I think, is that this waking up early in the morning thing becomes a routine so that it isn't a battle of willpower every day. The idea is that it simply becomes what I do, and I don't have to agonize over calculating the amount of times I can press the snooze button. But sometimes I don't like routines because they feel stifling. Alas, it would be difficult to argue that waking up doesn't constitute a stifling routine.

Today, I snoozed the 5:15 alarm and the 5:30 alarm, effectively doubling the number of times I had to leap out of bed to squelch the alarm. It works much better when I turn off the first alarm, snooze the second, and continue to snooze the second. However, if I do the opposite--snooze the first and turn off the second--then I might wake Jacob up from excessive snooze button pressing. Or, worse, if I turn off both the first and the second alarms, then I might never wake up, at least not until Jacob's alarm bursts onto the scene a little before 7.

So why not just get up the first time and skip the snooze altogether? Of course. That would be too easy. See, if I know that I can snooze, I feel in control, even empowered. The sheer fact of knowing that I can choose to arise or to succumb to the toasty sheets feels means that I have some modicum of control over a part of my day. The rest of my day--or at least each weekday--is predetermined: Walk the dog, drink the coffee, teach the kids, write the reports, eat the lame lunch, teach the kids, clean the room, walk the dog, make the dinner, and so on. I actually do like my days, even though that list doesn't make it sound like it, yet I still find myself grasping for more autonomy, independence, and choice. And that, that is what the snooze provides.

This is where I should stop writing and walk the dog. But there's more! And I still I have tea to drink, this relaxing, calming of the nervous system tea that looks so much like urine that I can't drink it out of a glass tumbler, which is exactly what I did the first time I drank it, which also happened to be at work. Thankfully no children asked me why I was consuming human waste. I'm not sure yet whether I think it's actually relaxing, though, regardless it is a useful routine (ahh!) and because it's not carbonated, it helps with hydration.

I have never before read a book about a feeling. A whole book on empathy? It can't be that complicated. But it is, really. I loved the first essay, the titular one. After that, I have been less impressed. The one I read last night belonged in a philsophical journal, so devoid was it of spunk and personal reflection. The first one felt so authentic and personal while also serving as a societal critique on doctors and healthcare, but not in a trite way:

Leslie Jamison tells stories of her experience as a fake patient (impersonating a sick person to help doctors improve their diagnostic and interpersonal skills) that parallel her experience undergoing first an abortion and shortly thereafter, heart surgery.

Here, Jamison describes some of the social abilities that serve as prerequisites to empathy. Social self-confidence is the fourth.

I wish I had the language to describe this overwhelming sensory experience as a kid, when people would seemingly bombard me with the question, "Why are you so shy?" All I could think to say, but was too shy to actually say, was, "Why are you so loud?" But that doesn't address the core issue in their question, which I think is that people process the world around them in ways too numerous to count or to understand.