Ottawa is a morning city. I’m not a morning person.
When I was a teenager, I could easily sleep until noon or even later. When my friends disregarded the unspoken rule about not calling me before noon, I could hear either of my parents answering the phone: “yes, she is er… yes, sleeping. Yes, she should be up in about… let me see… a couple of hours?”.
These days, I rarely get to sleep in. First, I have to work. And even on weekends when I go to bed much later than I should, my body refuses to sleep as late as I used to when I was a teen. I guess it is part of growing up and getting (a little bit) old.
Or maybe I’m subconsciously trying to fit in: Ottawa is a morning city. While in France, nothing was open before 10 am, in Ottawa you can have breakfast at 5 am, an hour-long yoga lesson at 6 am and be at work by 7 am. Freaky. People love being up early in that city, and by early I mean long before the sun rises. The logic behind that is that if you start work early, you can also leave early and enjoy the rest of the day. Now, most people I know who are up at 5 am are deep asleep by the time I finish dinner but never mind. They still feel they had a more productive day than late sleepers like me.
There is also a stigma attached to sleeping in. French call sleeping late “the fat morning”, and to Chinese it is the “lazy sleep”. Early risers are considered more productive, successful, with good work ethic: “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise”. Night owls are said to be negative, moody, without ambition… Sometimes, I feel people are just feeling guilty of sleeping altogether: have you heard the stupid bragging about who gets by on the least sleep? No wonder there is always a line-up at Starbucks, half of the population of the city has to be on caffeine just to make it through the day!
I believe in circadian rhythms, i.e. some of us are early risers while some of us are night owls. Trying to change what our bodies are programmed to is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. No matter how hard I try, I will never be a true morning person. So talk to me after 9 am, it’s safer… for both of us.