My alarm clock is set to go off at 3:30am. I think most people would consider that early, perhaps excessively so. The reason for this is simple enough, if not a little quirky. The predawn hours are the only time I able to be alone; the time I find my balance. The rest of the day can be a circus, with clowns and everything. I’d gotten away from this habit for a while, but have since re-adopted it the last couple of weeks, as I found myself becoming increasingly irritable without movement and solitude in my life.
The basics….I wake up, drink some (strong) coffee, brush my teeth and then head to the vacant High School behind my house. The school doesn’t stay empty, but I am long gone by the time the students arrive. Though I don’t always feel like rolling out of bed, or rather, peeling myself of the floor (another story) at that hour, I’m always happy after I do. After two months here, I’ve even worked out (see what I did there?) my favorite gym/classroom. As you can imagine, it’s pretty much a pitch black mess at that early hour. Often, I literally have to feel my way around the room, but I like the peacefulness of it.
This particular morning I woke up before my alarm went off. Since I hadn’t done anything for the last couple of days, I decided to use the extra time to go sweat out the cobwebs. I did the coffee thing and then walked over to the schoolhouse. There was a beautiful, star filled sky and for a brief moment I considered just laying out on the grass. The wind was on the strong side though and the dust was flying about, so I wound up going into my class instead. Once in there, I took out my jumprope and the pink towel I use to lay on the ground when I stretch and laid them on to of one of the desks. I was sporting my headphones, listening to my ‘IndoShuffle Inc’ playlist (only the coolest are privy to it), because without music, what else is there?
So there I am, laying on my back now, on the dusty classroom floor, like I have so many times before (I realize that doesn’t sound right, but I’m just giving you the facts) and I’m slowly stretching out and trying to finish what the coffee started 15 minutes earlier. I then proceed to do a couple of crunches and I’m starting to feel more alert…more alive…. And then I heard “IT.” I usually play my music is pretty loud, but the sound I heard sliced right through my tunes. I shrugged it off and did another couple of crunches….and there it was again. Ok, now I’m very sure I heard what I think I heard the first time. It was a sneeze and it was very close. And here’s why I’m fairly certain there is something wrong with me. Despite being 100% positive at this point that I heard a sneeze in this black room at 3:30am, I finished my set of crunches before I moved.
After that, I reasoned that two sneezes warranted a bit of a survey before I started my rope skipping, so I walked the perimeter, looking for anything unusual. I made it half way around the classroom before I found what looks to be a human being laying across a couple of desks. He is wrapped in a blanket and, presumably asleep, or at least pretending to be. Though I’m not making a ruckus, I’m not exactly quiet either, so I can only imagine what was going through that stranger’s head if they were in fact, awake. Suffice it to say, after discovering the body, I thought it wise to gather my gear and abort the mission. It made for a funny moment, but I’m hoping like the Dickens that this isn’t going to be a regular deal. If he’s looking for a turf war, this character picked the wrong dude to mess with!