My mother has always been very proud of the fact it takes her less than three-and-a-half minutes to get ready to go anywhere. On some days she can even roll out of bed, shower, dress and walk out the door in less time than it takes an Olympic gymnast to perform a floor routine.
It's not that my mother lies in bed until the last possible second and then rushes around before rolling late into work, school or appointments. No, the fact is my mother just can't understand what could possibly require more than 300 seconds of prep time in the morning.
The only part of this morning routine that I have been able to appropriate into my own life is punctuality. I'm rarely late. Most of the time, I'm 15 minutes early because I'm so afraid of running late. Other than that, it takes me more than 300 seconds to put on my shoes.
I get up earlier than most people I know.
My work does start early — 7 o'clock — but I must also compensate for my torpor.
I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock at least twice, then drag myself around my house trying to work up the will to shower. I have oily hair, so I can't get away without a daily shower, and I need it to help wake me up. But it's so hard to face getting all wet first thing in the morning.
Except for the couple of times I think I'm super smart and start my washing machine before my shower — which means very little hot water — even my showers are slow.
And it takes me a couple of tries to figure out which nearly identical bottles hold shampoo versus conditioner.
Then my alarm clock usually starts ringing again, because I pushed "snooze" instead of "off," and it addles my mind until I'm so confused I can't remember if I've already used soap and have to start everything all over again.
Then I wander back through my bedroom, trying to remember which items go into making myself a clean outfit. Once I'm finally dressed, I can run out to my car. And then back to the house for my cellphone, then back to the car. Then back to the house for my car keys. Breakfast, the most important meal of the day, usually gets forgotten, along with other important things such as hair brushing and deodorant.
Somehow, I always arrive at work on time, kind of a wreck, but on time.
My son, Silas, has inherited his grandmother's speediness. It takes Silas just a minute to get dressed and wait for me — impatiently — on the front porch. This is only if we're going someplace he wants to be, however.
During the school year, Silas is slower than I am. He eats breakfast in slow motion, loses his shoes and, without fail, remembers as we walk out the door that he's completely forgotten how much he has to use the bathroom, right now!
Speediness may have skipped a generation in my family, but I know that deep down Silas can be as slow and disorganized in the morning as I am. Just not on those mornings when he's tapping his foot impatiently, waiting for me to remember how to tie my shoes.
Zoe Abel is home, pressing the "snooze" button. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.