The unexpected surprise of an early morning

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“Morning is wonderful. It’s only drawback is that is comes at such an inconvenient time of day.” – Glen Cook, Sweet Silver Blues

Generally I’m not a morning person and I usually like to start my weekends in a lazy fashion, with a bit of a lie-in and then lounging around over a leisurely breakfast watching some sort of trashy tv (and since Netflix is now available in Switzerland a whole new world of trashy options has been opened up for me – hellooo Gossip Girl!).

But this Sunday I had to come into work for an important meeting, which takes place every six months and always involves at least one day’s work over the weekend. This involves not only getting up earlier than I would usually do on a weekend but actually getting up earlier than I would usually do if I were going to work, which for a non-morning person comes as a bit of a shock.

So last Sunday morning my alarm went off far too early and I bumbled around the flat with bleary-eyes, trying to find my toothbrush (charging in the kitchen) and keys (eventually located in another work bag) so that I could actually get out of the flat, without having to climb out the window, with reasonably fresh breath.

Finally, I was ready to leave, but still in plenty of time despite the minor setbacks, as I got up extra extra early (for me). It’s an important meeting and I didn’t really want to leave anything to chance so I factored in time for the toothbrush tracking, key-locating and about 10 other potential mini-mishaps.

Venturing out of the flat I released my bike from it’s cave* to ride to work in the early morning light.

Riding my bike to work is one of my favourite moments of every working day. There is something incredibly liberating about riding a bike, especially when it comes with the added bonus of the smug awareness that it’ll get me to work faster than the bus.

Actually let me just amend that. There is something incredibly liberating about riding a bike in a bike-friendly city like Geneva, which has on the whole been a positive experience (aside from one minor, albeit expensive, brush in with the law for running a red light see ‘Daring to dare but don’t dare to run a red light’). Cycling in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was liberating but more in the sense of an almost-liberating-myself-from-the-land-of-the-living, dicing-with-death, experience navigating a treacherous path amongst trucks, jeeps and tuk-tuks loaded up with people and produce, who may or may not have been driving on their designated side of the road, if on the road at all. 

But riding to work on a Sunday morning in Geneva, with barely a whisper of traffic, was an entirely pleasurable experience. Whizzing through the almost deserted streets felt kind of magical. There is something rather wonderful in knowing that you are awake and active when most people aren’t. And being up and about, on my way to an important meeting, hours earlier than I would probably even have woken up under more typical Sunday circumstances, felt like something to be proud of in itself. It was an unexpectedly enchanting way to start the day.

When I was studying for my law diploma in London, exams would happen once every three months on a Saturday morning and every time I would experience this same strange sensation. The heart pumping from the adrenaline needed to accomplish an upcoming event (then the exams, Sunday pulling off the meeting without a hitch), added to the buzz of being almost alone in a normally busy town (and not just for the opportunity it afforded to pretend a zombie apocalypse is underway) topped off with the somewhat conceited self-satisfaction of knowing that by the time I’d normally be ready to face the world, I’ll already have achieved something.

I’d like to say that I’ll repeat the experience voluntarily by setting my alarm for 6am on Saturday to go for an early morning run and revive the mystical circumstances. But…But…But I don’t think you can force these things… and I wouldn’t want to disturb the cats…and I would probably do myself some sort of an injury setting off at that time. And any number of other excuses to explain the fact I just don’t want to.

Magical morning experience over mooching about until noon? I’ll take the mooching thanks. I already admitted I wasn’t a morning person.


* I really love that in Geneva cellars/garage/general storage-holes are referred to as caves.
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