March 22, 2001
Doing a Larry Hagman


David was already parked in front of the computer when I emerged from the bathroom at 5:55 a.m.

"Look!" he announced cheerfully. "Your coffee's all ready!" And he pointed towards the Ugly Pink Stove, where two steaming fresh cups of Bay City Blend stood waiting, right next to the still-gurgling Mr. Krupsmaker.

I held up my finger in warning and shook my head a little.

Don't talk to me yet.

"Whoops!" he said. "Sorry. I forgot." And he went back to burning his Neil Young CD, while I snatched up my cup of caffeine and slunk wordlessly off to the bedroom.

He had momentarily forgotten Secra's Rule of Incredibly Groovy Living #43,897,621: For the first hour of the day, the world is silent.

No TV. No stereo. No guitars. No pagers or phones or answering machines. No blenders or vacuum cleaners or garbage disposals. No barking dogs. No basketballs. No pencil sharpeners. No Car Alarm Guy or Upstairs Neighbor Guy or Tone-Deaf Karaoke Girl.

And -- since I can't always control the other stuff, this is the one that's really important -- no conversation.

For the first sixty minutes of the day I don't say a single, solitary word ... to anybody, about anything, for any reason. The only two possible exceptions I can think of are 'rabbit rabbit' on the first morning of the month -- purely for good luck purposes, of course -- and the occasional ladylike expletive when I accidentally step on the goddamn fudking Lady Schick in the shower again. But otherwise I'm about as chatty as that Penn guy. Or that Gillette guy. Or whichever one of them doesn't speak much in the mornings (or any other time).

Silence is a very peaceful, energizing, *internally-harmonic* way to start the day. I highly recommend it.

And no, I'm not pulling a Larry Hagman on you here. 

You remember Larry Hagman, right? Four-time Academy Award winner, Larry Hagman? I saw him interviewed on Entertainment Tonight once, a long time ago ... back in the mid-80's, I think: it was right after his divorce from Elizabeth Taylor ... and I remember that he told Mary Hart or Leeza Gibbons or one of those other perky interchangeable ET puppets that one day a week, every week -- Sundays, I believe it was -- he remained absolutely mute from the moment he woke up until he went to sleep that night. "My 'Silent Day,' " he called it. If he needed to communicate with someone during his Silent Day ... he blew soap bubbles at them!   Honest to god! He carried a little bottle of SOAP BUBBLES around with him, everywhere he went! I remember thinking at the time that it sounded so peaceful and energizing and *internally-harmonizing* and stuff  --  the Silent Day, I mean, not the soap bubbles  --  and I longed to have a Silent Day of my own, but I knew there was no way I could attempt such a thing  --  not at that point in my life, anyway, when I was a fulltime Mom, and I was running a daycare on top of that, and my life, especially the morning part of my life, when it felt like I was constantly surrounded by thundering herds of small jabbering children, was a never-ending series of questions and answers, questions and answers, questions and answers, with ME required to do most of the answering.  So I envied Larry Hagman his day of silence. In fact, I remember feeling downright resentful of Larry Hagman for having one whole day when he wasn't required to say a single fudking word to anybody at all, if he didn't want to  --  actually hating the guy for having the luxury of a Silent Day  --  but then he was elected to Congress, soon after that, and I suppose that probably screwed up his whole 'Silent Day' idea. Who ever heard of a quiet politician?

But I digress.

It's actually very easy to get through that first hour of the morning without saying a word. For one thing, I'm usually up and moving at least a full hour before David. Mornings like today -- when I wake up and discover him puttering around before I've even wiped the crunchy stuff out of the corners of my eyes -- are extremely rare. Usually I'm out of bed, showered, shampooed, blown-dry, Slim Fasted, dressed AND three-quarters of the way Maybellinized before David even so much as twitches. And I accomplish most of this in absolute, pristine silence ... usually perched on the bed, a mere foot or two away from where he lies sleeping. The exception to this is when I'm drying my hair. I do that out in the dining room, sitting in front of the computer -- mainly so the hairdryer noise won't disturb him -- but also because it gives me a chance to do a little quick, one-handed e-mail, something I've gotten very very good at, over the years.

I use that wonderful quiet time, while I'm sitting there on the bed next to him during those beginning minutes of the morning, for a little psychic fortification in preparation for the day ahead. While I'm sipping that first cup of coffee, I'm planning grocery lists and filing systems. While the nail polish dries, I'm outlining that day's *FootNotes* entry. While I'm waiting for the little rubber rollers to cool off, I'm making wedding mix tapes in my head. And for that entire lovely hour, the only sounds I hear are mourning doves cooing from the cove behind our building ... traffic passing by on the street outside our bedroom window ...  David's steady, reassuring sleep noises.

It's nice.

By the time he wakes up -- around 7 a.m. or so -- most of the beautifying grunt work has been taken care of, and I'm ready for a little conversation. In fact, by that point I'm dying for a little conversation: the caffeine has infilitrated my bloodstream, all of this *stuff* has been cooking in my head for the past sixty minutes or so, and I'm rarin' to go.

"Hi Honey!" I'll say excitedly, as he emerges from the knot of blankets looking all rumpled and adorable and stoopid. "How did you sleep? Did I wake you up in the middle of the night when I went to the bathroom? Did you hear Car Alarm Guy? Did you dream anything good? I had the Teeth-Falling-Out-In-My-Hand dream again. Do you think that when you have the same dream, over and over again, that it actually means something? Like maybe I should go see a dentist? Would you want to go see the dentist too? Or do you want to go and get your glasses this weekend? I've seriously been thinking about contacts. I mean, I want to be able to actually SEE people at our wedding but I don't want to have to wear my glasses with a wedding dress, forcryingoutloud. What do you think? Oh -- that reminds me -- the invitations ... "

But he holds up one finger in warning and shakes his head a little.

Don't talk to me yet. Please.

throw a rock