“BE ALERT. BRITAIN NEEDS MORE LERTS.”
An unattributed bit of graffito that I remember seeing in one of those old Nigel Rees compilation books of Graffiti. Probably the first one, Graffiti Lives OK published in 1979, which means I’ve mentally stored this arcane piece of useless trivia for 28 bloody years, since I was seven years old. Curse my eidetic memory!
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how to get my brain kick-started in the mornings. Some days it’s a lot easier than others.
There are days when it’s pretty easy to hit the ground running. You just need the right trigger. Days that begin with the sound of my daughter’s laughter always start well. Or a day when I can flick on the radio and out comes Jackie Wilson’s Higher And Higher, setting me up perfectly for the travails of the coming 24-hours. Both of those things have occurred in the last week, which is why it is so easy for me to draw on them as examples.
But serendipity, like caffeine, only goes so far.
Despite the fact that I will never, ever be a Morning Person (I have always been a Creature of the Night by nature), I do try and make sure that I get out of bed about an hour and a half before I have to head out to work. The Reason? Well, it’s the only time I’m going to have to myself for the entire day, so I might as well make the most of it and gently ease myself into a state of readiness for battle. If I get up late and just run out the door, I spend the rest of my day on the back foot trying to get myself up to speed.
By getting up early, I can have a leisurely cup of coffee, read a few e-mails or maybe a comic, and sift through the illegible scrawls in my notebooks or on the shreds of paper that I seem to accumulate, making sense of the fleeting thoughts that I hurled onto the page the previous day.
But that still doesn’t address my main point. Getting myself into a state of alertness. Making my brain spark and fire to life, instead of stalling in a low-key, purely functional level of ponderous mental plodding. It’s a goddamn art, I tell ya! And I haven’t quite figured out a surefire way of doing it yet.
Sometimes maybe all it takes is a good night’s sleep, but those can be in short supply, especially when your young daughter is ill, as has been the case recently. Now, most kids, when they have a runny nose, either wipe it away with their sleeve, or just allow the mucus to slowly creep out and settle on their upper lip. Not my Buttercup. Oh no, she won’t touch it. This has lead to the repeated refrain of “Daddy! My nose is coming out!” resounding off the walls of AKA Central recently. Which means that someone has to get up and wipe her nose for her, despite the fact that we have tried to get her to do it herself. In fairness, she is capable of doing it, and if she wasn’t feeling so fragile, she wouldn’t hesitate. But not at the moment. And Snot Never Sleeps!
Rambling, aren’t I? OK, that’s enough for now.