There is something insidious about a mattress and a blanket on a winter morning that does not let you get to work on time. It’s not necessarily that you’re sleepy or lazy, or that you don’t like your work-space... in fact, none of these may be true.
It is merely a combination of two simple facts.
- Winter is cold.
- Blankets are warm.
Couple with these, the satisfaction of snubbing a nagging alarm clock by simply pressing that magical invention, the snooze button and voila! We have before us the perfect recipe for a harried last minute dash to the office, with a quick interlude to run back home and check that the gas is off. Most days, this is followed by a scramble for the house-keys, which somehow manage to wedge themselves between the mattress and the wall, under a fold of the blanket (which you did not have time to fold, neatly)and from whence they do not reveal their presence until you check there for the third time.
But somehow, there is a magic to winter mornings as experienced from under a blanket, which makes all this worthwhile. It all begins with the sickening feeling you get, as you wake up and realise that somewhere in the midst of lying very still while waiting for the blanket to warm up and going over all the work you unrealistically planned to do in the morning – a mystical time that only exists as long as there is a night of sleep separating you from it - in your head, you have actually fallen asleep and are now facing that not-so-mystical-anymore time, a.k.a morning.
Once you have realised that despite the lack of sunlight through the window, it is actually 6:00 a.m in the morning; a feat usually accomplished by squinting blearily and uncomprehendingly for a few seconds at the screen of your mobile phone before realising that it helps to press a button to turn the backlight on to display the time; there comes a blissful moment when you realise you still have half an hour of sleep ahead of you, as per your ambitious morning plan.
At this point, one usually sets the alarm for the planned wake up time (6:30 a.m), and lies in bed, basking in the contrast between the now-warmed space under the blanket and the brief sharp cold experienced while extending one’s arm outside the blanket in search of the aforementioned mobile phone and keeper of time.
As you lie in bed drowsily determined to enjoy every last second of that nap, a strange thing happens. You are unable to fall asleep. You tell yourself it’s a good thing, as you will have to wake up in a few minutes and it’s good to just enjoy the warmth...
And then, as you lie there with your eyes closed, the moment of reckoning steadily advancing... you begin to feel the darkness around you. It thickens, till it is almost perceptible, like a warm aromatic mug of coffee in your hands. It slowly rises from the depths and envelopes you pulling you down into the comfortable blackness of pre-sleep. A gentle rocking feeling often accompanies this, followed by confused versions of the thought process that you had been involved in until that moment. The thoughts still seem perfectly logical on scrutiny, but often involve unnecessary imagery such as kittens, the moon and chocolate in otherwise unrelated mental lists of work.
Just as you are beginning to pass from pre-sleep to sleep... the mobile phone gives a preliminary beep. And then explodes into the ALARM. Quickly you, reach for the snooze button and then withdraw your arm into the warmth of the blanket, reminding yourself either that your clock is ten minutes fast, or that ten minutes will not make all that much of a difference to your morning plans.
And once again, just as you begin to sink into sleep, the alarm rings triggering the same chain of events, albeit with a slightly different logic every time: Perhaps the morning tasks become less urgent and can be done later in the day, or you convince yourself it’s 6:45, when it is in fact, 7:45, or worst of all, you set the alarm for 8:00 p.m, and sleep till you wake with a jolt at 9:30, and run!
Despite the ensuing drama, loss of time, money and face, those few elusive extra moments of warmth and the magical sinking feeling from consciousness into nebulous semi-consciousness, make it all worth-while.