Monday, March 22, 2010

Waking Up

Aside from pulling all-nighters and fun, long evenings with friends and family, generally, I am a morning person. Sleeping until noon lasted until the conclusion of my freshman year of college and naps, well naps have only been a necessity since I began serving breakfast at The Brasserie in Manhattan. Although this explanation is a tad cliche, mornings are a fresh start - no baggage from the previous day and if there is any, it's then carefully analyzed with a clear head OR chucked in the bin.

Nowadays, it bewilders me that I actually look forward to my morning routines before work. Admittedly, at 4:30AM, my early-morning activities are somewhat redundant - shower, iron uniform (if needed), eat yogurt with dried cranberries and honey, and wait for my hair to dry. However, the commute to work is where the fun lies and thus, my bewilderment.

As I walk the streets of New York, I become engrossed in the city as it wakes up and prepares itself for the day ahead. It's 5:15AM and I am headed out the door. The first few blocks in Park Slope, near Prospect Park, are rather quiet - allowing me just enough time to scroll down my iTunes recently played list and select the song of the morning. Today, it's Elysium (or Now We Are Free from Gladiator) - a personal favorite. I like peace in the morning. In just five minutes, I reach Flatbush Avenue - where life is indubitably more evident than Union Street. I'll often catch a glance of florists, for instance, as they clip the ends off of every flower's stem; doctors with lattes; construction workers on their latest sidewalk assignment; and also, servers, accountants, nurses, teachers and media personnel all marching to their closest metro station like zombies in Hollywood's latest thriller - or perhaps that's just me.

The metro ride to the city prior to 6AM is one of my favorite moments. Why? EVERYONE SLEEPS! And if they're not sleeping, each person is double-fisting with a double espresso and a soy latte. It's noiseless - no hearing impaired teenagers listening to the latest Jay-Z hit on full blast - and depending on the train, the cars are significantly less crowded than in the afternoon. The best seats in each railroad car are those on either side of the metro doors. Although meant for protection, the guardrails are a passenger's best friend equipped with a metal shoulder to lean on so early in the morning, or even after a long night of drinking. New Yorkers, be honest! Of course, its level of comfortability isn't equivalent to a down pillow; however, at 6:02AM...who really cares?!

Exiting the F train at 57th Street is another one of my favorite morning routines. It all begins with the climb up the steps to 57th street as a gust of steam releases through the road vents; city workers hosing down sidewalks, removing any remnants of the day before; and the shoe polishing boutique with seats already occupied by three, Park Avenue businessmen. Sure, it may be slightly bizarre to look forward to and anticipate these morning rituals. I admit it's a bit strange. All I can say is...to each his own.

But let's think about this...

Each of you have your own wake-up call filled with a single emotion or a plethora of different emotions (i.e. exhausted, content, thrilled, stressed, ecstatic, nervous, loved). It's endless. Exhausted, due to a late-night rendezvous with your friends or a work deadline. Loved, because of the person sleeping beside you whose arm is wrapped around your body protecting you from any harm. And ecstatic, because it's the first day at your new job after college. With the economy, jobless market and increased number of failed relationships, I wonder if more mornings are filled with positive or negative emotions; and furthermore, if fresh starts truly exist with each new day.

For today...I'll remain positive and trust in my fresh starts.


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The Great Wall

The Great Wall
Beijing, China