My father is a man of the cloth – at least, that’s his day job. By night, he’s an Eddie-Izzard-quoting, transcendentalist-reading, philosophical omnivore who would never be caught dead in any characterization of earnest Christianity. But this is neither here nor there. Only three things are relevant: First, that the church is crazy, always has been, always will be. Second, our nation’s economy ain’t so hot, and at least where dad’s working, Jesus doesn’t have deep pockets. Third, commuting sucks, especially for people who aren’t, shall we say, morning persons.
Interlude: The Waking Dichotomy
Throughout the years, I have found that with regard to waking up in the morning, there are two kinds of people (and, like Ken Robinson, I am the one of Bentham’s two types who divide the world into two types of people. 2:50 in the video).
First there are the Switch People, who turn on like light bulbs when morning happens and getting up is what’s on the schedule. They live in a very simple pattern of states: on, off, on, off, repeat. I’ve spent time with these curious creatures, and even saw one romping around a hotel room singing show tunes at the top of her lungs despite the obscene pre-6-oclock hour and the previous night’s 10 hour bus ride from our high school in Connecticut to Toronto, Canada. It was time to wake up, so she was awake. Baffling.
Then there are the people like me. We do not wake up with the flick of a switch. We’re more what you’d call Old Lawn Mower People. First you have to tug the chain and listen to the ugh-gh-gh-gh sound for a while. Then the motor will die. And you have to tug the chain again, this time enduring the ungent grinding of some inconceivable mechanism plundering away in the beast’s rusty innards. There will inevitably be cursing, erratic spasms, groaning and finally – grudgingly – movement. Coffee will be required. That’s more my style.
And, to return to my story, I come by that style quite honestly. So my dear father, valiantly pushing through this AM ritual, trying desperately to mow the lawn of his early morning professional life, fought his way through the phases of daybreak. Shower, quick breakfast, suit, tie, car keys. And so, blearily, he began the trek to an institution rife with financial angst and spiritual strangeness.
I tell you all of this to frame one simple, delightful fact: He made it a full half hour before realizing the reason the gas pedal felt odd was that he was still wearing his bedroom slippers.
And may God bless all ye Switch folk and ye Old Lawn Mower folk, and keep ye well rested, well loved, and well shod.