by Matt Kolbet, Guest Writer

I woke up early. It doesn’t mean I experience the world differently.

Coffee sometimes courses through my veins like a horse on EPO; usually though, I might merely see a few more hours of daylight than other people. Sunrise isn’t a seismic shift—quite the opposite in fact—but morning beauty challenges me to bring down the flame of my stress levels to smolder.

For breakfast, we were out of oat milk, and this is what I want you to understand.

My toast is 100% free-range wheat. Fortunately, we bought an extra loaf when we biked to the store. I need protein though, or more than my bowels get irritable. Remember last time, that guy standing in front of the cooler alternately scratching his nose and his neck. He looked so out of place we joked he might be casing the joint. I recognize now that it was tasteless and classist. Although we all have the weight of the world on our shoulders, we don’t get to carry it the same way.

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Apologies. I missed the staff meeting this morning. The fatigue is real; no one can deny that. Also, it’s the middle of March, so there’s a lot of basketball games to watch. When they’re played in a different time zone, I have to be flexible in order to keep up. Despite the questionable accuracy of my past choices, I’m convinced I can spot which twelve seed will deliver a surprise upset. It simply means I might have to work by myself for a while. Yes, I get that the rest of the team doesn’t want to log back in at midnight. I’ll still do my part on the Parsons Project. Besides, if none of my teams make the sweet sixteen, we’ll see each other real soon.

We just returned to Daylights Savings Time, so that terrifies me.

This may be the last year we have to spring forward. Still, it doesn’t make the guilt go away. With warm weather becoming more than a fever dream, I’m wondering if I would have used that missing hour to exercise or start learning a new language. It’s gone now. I don’t need to build a second story on my sorrow, but old habits die hard. That, and I don’t trust the government to quit toggling our clocks twice a year.

Bedtime at last—it looks like the same old playbook.

Attempts at scaling-up the experience with candles, music, or milk (this time, from cows) aren’t more than window dressing. With more than 14,000 nights under my belt, you’d think I’d have figured it out. Yet no amount of propaganda seems to change the blueprint. I’m stuck. While Americans spend billions on pharmaceutical aids, nothing compares to the real thing. Sleep, like unions, just improves lives.