I share my body with another person. Well, she’s actually a monster that takes control in the morning. My parents met her when I started pre-school. Morning always began with one of them standing beside the bed calling my name sweetly ”Cara, Cara, Cara time to get up.” When I didn’t move, they added a gentle shoulder tap to their effort. I still didn’t budge, so they resorted to mild shaking. Eventually, the shaking worked and the monster woke, crying wildly. My poor parents tried to have a rational discussion with me, but I was asleep and the monster was incapable of being rational. After a considerable period of the monster’s hysterics, my parents gave up and dressed me while I was lying down.
In grade school, the monster adapted and turned the morning routine into a game, a competition if you will. Her strategy was to stay quiet and hit the snooze button as fast as she could. The hope was they’d forget about us. Judi and Sid (my parents) never did.
My dad started the game every morning with a wake up call.
Dad: Cara it’s time to get up.
Monster: Uh Huh
Dad: The next time I pass by your room, you better be moving.
Monster: Uh Huh
Dad: I’m serious, the next time I pass by your room, I better hear some movement or you are in trouble.
The monster saw my father’s ultimatum as a challenge and responded with the “Fake Out” (Sit up in bed while my dad passed and then immediately lie back down.)
Enter my Mom, signaling the counting portion of the competition. Judi is known for having her share of issues with the morning. So, while she rushed frantically to dress herself, she screamed numbers across the hall as forceful encouragement.
Mom: Cara you have until three to get out of that bed. One….Two…Three. Get Up, Are you Up?
Monster: “Uh huh, I’m up , I’m Up.” (I wasn’t up.)
Mom: I don’t hear any feet on the ground.
Monster: I’m getting dressed on my bed.
My parents had a short strategy session in their bedroom. This bought me and the monster another minute of uninterrupted sleep.
Mom: I don’t think she’s up.
Dad: Of course she’s not up. I’m going in there!!! (The final escalation)
My father stormed across the hall yelling threats.
Dad: I’m coming in there!!!! You better be up or else you are in deep trouble!!!!
Monster: Zzzzzzzzzzzzz (The monster held her ground and laid there motionless.)
Angered by the lump in the shape of his daughter, my dad ripped off the covers and forced the window shades to the ceiling. While the shades were flying up, the monster pulled the covers back over our head. When my father turned around and saw the monster unmoved by his dramatic play, he flew into a no holds barred freak out, yelling threats at the top of his lungs. The threats quickly turned to full grounding; life would be limited to school, homework and reading. Realizing she had been defeated, the monster dressed us as fast as a lump could. (It was like watching paint dry, but at least we were vertical.) This was our morning routine through high school.
In college the monster adapted again and was now a foul-mouthed old man. On our own, I, not the monster, was responsible for getting us up. She got up begrudgingly, although there were times she forced us to skip morning classes. All my friends and roommates knew it was best not to acknowledge me until couple hours after we got up. They were never quite sure what would come out of my mouth.
After college, my friend Reuben and I lived together. He too, has a morning monster. But, our monsters had an understanding that talking was not permitted before work. Grunting was our sole communication tool. As a result, our monsters co-existed for three years, with only a few minor conflicts.
I live alone now and that’s probably best for everyone. After all these years, the monster has not changed, so I guess this is it. I am tied to her for the rest of my life.
A couple of days ago, an unlucky woman had the misfortune of meeting the monster. We were walking down the subway steps as the woman was walking up. She stopped and stared when she saw us. Since the monster is not visible, I can only guess she was staring because of my height. The woman began to point and laugh. Monster, who was still in control of all my major functions, turned to her and said “@*$& @#$%$ @#%$@# you bad wig wearin #*&!##$.” The woman was stunned into silence and frankly so was I. But, the train was pulling into the station, so I had no time to apologize for the monster’s outburst. We quickly ran down the rest of the steps, leaving the woman to pick her bottom lip off the ground.
If you encounter us in the morning, please remember, I am not in control, she is.