When we were in High School, my mother, a morning person to be sure, eventually grew tired of coaxing my brother, not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, out of bed. In the final days of her wake-up call attempts, coaxing gave way to yelling and threats, and still there was no indication from my brother’s prone body, nestled within a heap of books and techno scrap in the lofted boy-nest my father built for him, that he had even heard my mother’s ever increasing pitch as she rattled windows and baffled dogs for neighborhoods around screeching him out of bed for the umpteenth time.
Meanwhile, across the hall, having long since abandoned the need to set an alarm (or punch a snooze button for that matter) I would have finally slinked out of bed and stumbled to the downstairs bathroom before my mother’s decibel level began to reach death-of-hearing-tissue intensity, to wash up and primp.
After screaming herself hoarse for far too long, my mother finally gave in to the inevitable – my brother would never give her the satisfaction of waking on cue. However, unwilling to admit defeat or allow him to sleep through his before-school engagements and into the school day (which he surely would if left undisturbed), she passed the job to me.
In retrospect, I don’t remember what my investment was in making sure Seth was awake each morning. It could have been that I was responsible for giving him a ride, but school wasn’t so far away that he couldn’t have gotten there without me (prior to getting my license, we walked to school daily), so perhaps I persisted for the sheer satisfaction of disturbing his precious sleep each morning, and for feeling indignantly that if I had to endure the tedium of school on a daily basis, I sure as hell wasn’t suffering alone.
My shouts could never compete with that of my mother’s, so my strategy included climbing up the stairs to his bed and physically shaking him until he could no longer feign or go back to sleep. Unfortunately, this cut back my shower/primp/pick-an-outfit time dramatically, and despite waking him, still did not guarantee that he would crawl out of his cave, or get his act together in order to arrive at school on time.
Close to 10 years later, I have now reassumed the role of Fräulein Get-Your-Ass-Out-Of-Bed, and my job is no less difficult. Especially when it’s 30 degrees and dark outside. In fact, beyond being driven by the knowledge that the consequence for not putting on miles in the cool of the morning is hiking through the heat of the day, my desire is also to sleep.
Counteracting Seth’s inertia is infuriatingly futile. Each morning, depending on my willingness to get up and cause enough racket and movement in our tiny shared tarp that he has no choice but to take waking/packing up steps, it takes at least an hour and a half to rally and begin walking – and that’s if he’s moving at a relatively motivated pace, which is rare.
If I step back, it’s actually an incredible thing to observe. This damn kid can walk at a dizzyingly rapid pace, with apparently little to no effort – indefinitely. I have come to believe, as there has never been any evidence to the contrary, that if he didn’t have to stop, he wouldn’t. So to watch him wake up in the morning and move at a pace so slow that it is almost imperceptible, beyond being frustrated, I’m simply, perpetually, baffled.
In the case of our camping arrangement, Seth wakes up and, after excessive prompting, begins to reassemble his exploded pack. To watch him in progress, it would appear that he takes painstaking care with the packing and placement of each item in his possession, as each individual piece requires at least 3 minutes to locate, place, and shuffle about. Were it not for the fact that the tarp and groundsheet live in my pack, and cannot be broken down with a sleepy, slowly-packing maniac inside, I (who will be the first to admit that I have severe – and obnoxious – obsessive compulsive tendencies, and am also not the fastest packer in the world) am confident that I would be dressed, packed, and ready to go with water bottles full and teeth brushed (which is also a point of contention), a full half-hour to 45 minutes in advance of Boy Wonder.
I will own that I’m extremely short-sighted in this matter. I am his older sister, and as such, I reserve the right to criticize and to roll my eyes without apology. It is certainly possible that there is a method to his madness that is far beyond my understanding, however even objectively, I maintain that the amount of time taken to pack each morning does not reflect the state of his backpack, and is certainly incongruous with how quickly and efficiently I know he is capable of moving when he hikes.
Perhaps the real kicker, the real frustration behind all of my pseudo-ranting is the knowledge that, in a world in which, metaphorically or literally, Seth and I lay sleeping in neighboring tarps on a chilly desert morning, and I wake hours before him, pack quickly and efficiently in the methodical obsessive manner only I can pack, and set out, organized and ready, hours before he even awakes, come nightfall, as I huff and puff my way into camp, many mountaintops ahead, Seth will be nestled away, teeth unbrushed, sleeping soundly.
Damn that Boy Wonder.