April 3, 2000
Love/Hate Relationship


The alarm clock next to the bed says that it's 5:55 a.m. PDT.

My confused and weary body says that it's only 4:55 a.m. PST.

(My CLOSET says that it's 1993 and I'm still a size 12. But that's another story for another day.)

Whoever invented Daylight Savings Time -- and the barbaric practice of forcing our clocks love/hateahead an hour, every spring -- deserves to be tied to the back of a diarrheic camel and paraded through the streets of Alameda.

Preferably in his jammies.


For a few minutes I simply lay here in bed, unable (or unwilling) to move. Our bedroom is as dark as midnight ... as still and soothing as a hyperbaric chamber. I glance enviously at David, snoozing peacefully next to me: he still has another hour to sleep, while *I* am already running ten minutes behind schedule.


I fleetingly consider calling in sick. This is the same thing I "fleetingly consider" every Monday, of course, but today there is actually some legitimacy to the idea: I've battled a rotten stomachache all weekend, and I'm still feeling a little punky. (I'm finally beginning to *get* the fact that somebody who is lactose intolerant probably shouldn't be putting 2% on her Protein Plus every morning.)  The East Bay was hit by a heat wave, and I spent most of my Saturday and Sunday sweaty and cranky ... crawling back and forth between the bathroom and the sofa. It would be lovely to call the office and say, "Sorry! No-can-do!," and to then spend the day eating bananas and rice and applesauce (no TOAST, unfortunately) and making peace with my digestive system.

But I can't. Franz is leaving for an out-of-town trip tomorrow, and today will be that all-important *prep day.*  (The theory being that if I send him off with the proper amounts of preparation, paperwork and Pepto Bismol, he will be less likely to call me from 35,000 feet to complain about his hotel reservations. Or his sandwich.) Cutting out of work today would not merely be poor Executive Assitude ... it would skew the entire rest of the week.

Sigh again.

Midway through my daily shower is when I ordinarily begin to wake up in earnest. It's the combination of hot water, cold air and eleven-dollar shampoo, I think. In fact, there are some days when that morning shower is the emotional/spiritual high point of my day. But not this morning. I don't care what the clock says: this morning, it feels like I am showering in the goddamn middle of the night.

But at least I'm not critically behind schedule. I'll still have time for a semi-leisurely cup of caffeine in front of the computer, while I blow-dry my hair with one hand and check my e-mail with the other. David can enjoy those final fifteen minutes of REM sleep, before I wake him up at seven. We're in good shape, timewise.

But when I emerge from the bathroom, aprés shower, I see that David is not only awake already ... he is up and making the bed.

"I screwed up," he says sheepishly. "I've got my sales meeting in Castro Valley this morning." Christ. That means we've got to be out of the apartment half an hour earlier than usual. So much for being in "good shape, timewise."

It's going to be one of *those* weeks ... I just know it.

God, I hate Daylight Savings Time.

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The clock on my Inter-Tel AXXESS Executive Digital Keyset says that it's 5:55 p.m. PDT.

My confused and weary head says that it's only 4:55 p.m. PST.

(My RADIO says that it's 1987, and that Bruce Willis is a "singer." But that's another story for another day.)

This has been a grueling day, to put it mildly: a test not only of the St. John's Wort, and of caffeine tolerance, and of bladder strength ... but also of personal endurance. I've been here since 7:30 a.m. PDT. Most of the past ten hours have been spent trailing around behind Franz with an armload of folders, trying to get his signature/his attention/his airplane seating preference/his billing approval/his Visa card/his prescription refill numbers/his dirty coffee cup before he leaves for the conference tomorrow.

I'm worn out.

And on top of everything else, it's still fudking Daylight Savings Time. 

I called David from the lunchroom at noon, while I nuked my Healthy Choice "Grilled" Chicken and Mashed Potatoes. I wanted to warn him that I was in the middle of a Day From Hell. "I don't see me getting out of here before 5:30 or 6:00," I said morosely.

And now  --  thankyouthankyouthankyou, god  --  it's finally time to pack up my notebooks and my Gatorade and head downstairs to meet David. I figure the rest of the evening is a wash. It'll be a miracle if I'm still awake by the time we make the Tube.

But a lovely surprise awaits me, the instant I step out of the gloom of the lobby and into the sunlit courtyard in front of my office building.

It is still light outside.

But it's not just the fact that it's still light outside: it is the quality of the light that surprises -- and delights -- me. This isn't the decaying, end-of-the-day light that usually greets me when I straggle out of the Totem Pole Company at 6 p.m. This is bright, cheerful, in-your-face, "Yo! Secra! Isn't it great to be alive and breathing and stuff?!?" light.

I sit down on a stone bench in the middle of the courtyard ... in the concrete canyon between my building and the Caltrans building next door ... and allow the sunlight to bathe my Franz-weary face. It's like being given the world's grooviest cosmic facial.

And by the time David pulls up in the Subaru, I'm feeling 900% better.

It's going to be one of *those* weeks ... I just know it.

God, I love Daylight Savings Time.

one year ago today

throw a rock