I’ve never been a morning person. Even though my high school days memories are slowly starting to fade, I still remember my last year. We had to attend classes Monday through Saturday starting at 8:00 am, and everyday was a struggle to get up. I would go to bed as early as I could but will always find myself exhausted by Wednesday. I learned we weren’t born equal : half of my classmate were up at 6:00 in the morning to do their hair and the rest of us would be happily going to bed with our clothes on to sleep in a few more minutes.
French aren’t morning people. Except maybe for Parisians who often have to commute for hours, most people like to start later and finish around 7:00 pm. Back when I was in high school, the only people walking like zombies in the streets so early were us, the students, and a few parents tagging along for the younger. If the first morning class was canceled for whatever reason, we had nowhere to go : even the MacDonald’s nearby only opened at 9:00. Most shops opened at 10:00, and coffee shops were just busy managing their daily deliveries.
When I moved to Canada, I started to enjoy mornings. People in Ottawa often go to work around 8:00, or even 7:30, in order to finish at 4:00. Tim Hortons drive-through are busy, traffic is at its maximum and morning are bright. My first class of the day is usually at 9:00. I’m okay with it. I’m still not an early bird, but I can manage. A cigarette in one hand and a Diet Coke in the other. And don’t complicate my life too much. Also, don’t speak too loud. And don’t ask me to be active or smart. Basically, don’t ask me to be bright.
Last Sunday, I was called to teach a special student from 9:00 to 3:00 pm. I didn’t mind cause the experience was going to be interesting. So on Friday, the receptionist gave me her key (since I was going to be alone in the school) and showed me how the alarm worked. And I went back home with a little scribbled note with the alarm code and the instructions.
Sunday morning, 8:30. It’s raining and I’m tired. I need a cigarette but I decide to open the school first, in case my student arrives early. I turned the key in the keyhole and tape in the code on the alarm’s control panel right behind the door. I then rush to the kitchen down the hallway to put my lunch in the fridge, longing for my morning smoke.
Bip… Bip… Bip… BIP… BIP… BIP… BIIIIIP…
Fuck. The alarm.
I run back to the entrance door and key the code one more time. Then, by fear of having set the alarm on again, I exit and stand on the front porch.
Think. Concentrate. I keyed the right code. What the hell did I do wrong ?
I wait there for a few minutes and decide to start the whole process again. I key the code and wait in the lobby. I hear… I hear… a fucking beeping sound ! I am so angry I could cry.
I key the code furiously a few times and the biping stops. Silence.
And my student steps in.
I swear I couldn’t concentrate during the first part of the lesson for fear of the police arriving. How embarrassing could that be, being caught working overtime and being alarm-challenged ???